Human-Centered Electronic Commerce

Rajiv Khosla and Ernesto Damiani



A number of technologies for electronic commerce applications are available but very few methodologies have been developed. The existing design techniques, like object-oriented or agent-based design, only partially address the issues associated with e-commerce applications. Further, unlike traditional commerce most e-commerce applications are based on supplier-centered models.  In this tutorial we will introduce a human-centered methodology for development of e-commerce applications. It is inherently interdisciplinary, requiring aspects in philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, linguistics and speech, traditional commerce and practical experience of building complex systems. At the conceptual level the human-centered methodology is described in terms of various ontologies used for system analysis, problem solving and human-computer interaction. The application of these ontologies is shown using internet technologies (like XML), intelligent technologies involving fuzzy logic, natural language processing and speech, multimedia, and software modeling technologies like agents.

The human-centered methodology is used to develop technology independent brokerage architecture. The brokerage architecture facilitates integration of consumer-centered market models with supplier-centered ones using the extensible Markup Language (XML), a new emerging standard, and its technologies.

 XML is used for meta-search, content representation and conversion of supplier-centered descriptions into consumer-centered market model based descriptions.  Based on above human-centered methodology and XML based technology development of an e-commerce application will be described.

At the end of the tutorial, participants will develop an ability to build e-commerce applications based on the human-centered approach. Moreover, they will learn how XML can be used effectively for modeling/adapting supplier-centered models with consumer-centered ones and vice versa.

The human-centered methodology has also been successfully applied in other areas like image processing, medical diagnosis and treatment support, sales management and others.



The tutorial is aimed at entrepreneurs, information managers, system developers, and IT professionals involved in e-business projects; moreover, it is also targeted to researchers wishing to gain knowledge and insight about design methodologies for e-commerce applications.



Participants are supposed to be acquainted with Internet technologies. Previous experience with XML is useful but not essential.




R.Khosla and T. Dillon, Engineering Intelligent Hybrid Multi-Agent Systems, Kluwer Academic Publishers, MA, USA, 1997


R. Khosla, I. Sethi and E. Damiani, Intelligent Human-Centered Multimedia Multi-Agent Systems, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Ma, USA, 1999.




Rajiv Khosla is a senior lecturer and consultant in the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. He has also been a Visiting Professor in Wayne State University, USA.

He holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering, M.Tech in Management and Systems, M.Sc. in Computer Science, and Ph.D. in Computer Science. He has authored or contributed to six books in the area of Intelligent Systems, Human-Centered multimedia systems, agent-oriented software engineering, information systems and power systems. He has published over 50 refereed papers in international journals and conferences in all above areas. Dr. Khosla has presented his research in the form of tutorials in international conferences, and full day seminars in reputed institutions in Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. He has commercialized intelligent patentable software as well as other application software in Australia. He has worked on several collaborative projects with the industry and consults with the industry in a number of areas including electronic commerce, multimedia systems, intelligent systems, data mining and multi-agent systems.


Ernesto Damiani holds a M.Sc. degree in Computer Engineering from University of Pavia and a Ph. D. degree in Computer Science from Univerity of Milan, Italy, EU. He is a tenured Assistant Professor at the University of Milan campus located in Crema, Italy. Dr. Damiani is the author of more than 60 scholarly publications on semi-structured information processing, distributed O-O systems and soft computing, and of several books both in English and Italian. He is also a Visiting Professor at the Comp. Science Dept. of George Mason University, Fairfax, US, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Comp. Science Dept. of LaTrobe University, Australia. Dr. Damiani routinely delivers post-graduate courses about semi-structured information processing and XML-related technologies, including XML security, to industrial and academic audiences. As a consultant, he has been involved in a number of e-business applications, including home banking and e-commerce of products and services. He is among the proposers of the XML-GL query language, currently under consideration by the W3C.