4th International Workshop on
Web Site Evolution

October 2, 2002; Montréal, Canada

WSE 2002
Migrating to Web Services

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Nan Niu, Eleni Stroulia, Mohammad El-Ramly,
Understanding Web Usage for Effective Dynamic Web-Site Adaptation.

Abstract

Every day, more information, new products and more valuable services are being offered by providers on the World Wide Web. Similarly, the number of consumers increase and their interests become increasingly varied. As a result, consumers have regularly trouble finding what they want and providers are seeking ways to determine the customers' interests in order to better target their products to the most relevant audience. In this paper, we discuss our approach to understanding the customers' interests and to dynamically adapting the organization of the information provided by a Web site to match these interests. Our approach is tailored to fairly "focused" sites that offer information on a well-defined subject. The basic intuition is that users of such focused sites share common interests which fundamentally dictate their behavior when accessing the site in question. It is therefore possible, by understanding the usage patterns of the site visitors, to generate run-time recommendations so that information of interest to many early visitors becomes more easily accessible to subsequent visitors. Thus the Web site monitors the page-access behavior of its visitors to extract frequently followed patterns and then uses the extracted patterns to dynamically adapt its content for subsequent visitors who seem to exhibit similar behavior. A fundamental novelty of our approach is that the usage patterns, on the basis of which the Web-site is adapted, are updated frequently and are sensitive both to changes in the Web-site material and in the behavior of its visitors. We have applied our method to a university- course Web site with encouraging results.