On-Line User Interaction with Electronic Catalogs: Language Preferences Among Global Users

On-Line User Interaction with Electronic Catalogs: Language Preferences Among Global Users

Aryya Gangopadhyay (University of Maryland-Baltimore County, USA) and Zhensen Huang (University of Maryland-Baltimore County, USA)
Copyright: © 2000 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/jgim.2000070102
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In this paper we study the behavior and performance of bilingual users in using an electronic catalog. The purpose of this research is to further the knowledge required for building electronic commerce systems that operate in multiple languages in global settings. We describe a bilingual electronic catalog that can be used by online retailers for selling products and/or services to customers interacting in either English or Chinese. We investigate into the nature of user interactions in multilingual electronic catalogs. We have defined three different groups of users: only Chinese speaking, only English speaking, and bilingual. We are specifically interested in investigating into the language preferences of the third group of users. In order to test language preferences, we have selected two types of products: office supplies and ethnic food. We hypothesize that bilingual users will exhibit differential language preferences for the type of products and the tasks performed in using the electronic catalog. Furthermore, learning curves and interaction effects are also tested. Three different task categories have been designed: browsing, directed search, and exact matches. In the first case, the user is a general browser who is looking for what is available in the catalog. In the second case, the user is looking for a class of products but is unsure of the exact item. In the third case the user knows exactly what item he/she is looking for. We propose to test the efficiency of usage by measuring the time as well as studying the path followed by the user in retrieving product information. This research will shed light on the important issue of designing multilingual electronic catalogs for both local and global applications.

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