Recommender Systems’ survey and usability study [Archived]

February 19, 2008
Title: Recommender Systems’ survey and usability study
Duration: One Semester
Responsible TA: Nicolas Jones
Goals: The goal of this project is to study a number of recommender technologies and to find ways to improve them.
Keywords: qualitative user study design, recommender systems, usability study

Wikipedia defines recommender system as “programs which attempt to predict items (movies, music, books, news, web pages) that a user may be interested in, given some information about the user’s profile”. These systems are currently growing more and more popular. Everyday, new websites incorporate features and tools based on recommender technologies. However systems seem to be tightly linked to the field of activity. So can we see a pattern emerging? Could it just be that the usability of an implementation sells, respectively kills, a solution in respect to another and has lead us to believe that solutions were domain-specific?

This project is divided into two main steps and a small last one (this can evolve, depending on the student’s interrests). The first step would be to perform a survey of different recommender systems currently popular. If possible, the student should try to find the main kind of systems that are used, and explain why they are popular. The second step would focus on making a usability study of a selection of the systems found in step one in order to “measure” how much the usability concerns influence the efficiency of a recommender system. Finally, as a third step, the student may implement a prototype module of one of the systems selected in step 2, into the open source ecommerce system: osCommerce. 

Project Results:
  • a survey report of 10+ recommender systems
  • a usability study report of 3-5 recommender systems
  • a system prototype of one recommender system on a specific domain based on oscommerce
Required Skills
  • HTML
  • PHP/Mysql