A Virtual Assistant for Websites
This work presents a Virtual Assistant (VA) whose main goal is to supply information for Websites users. AVA is a software system that interacts with persons through a Web browser, receiving textual questions and answering automatically without human intervention. The VA supplies information by looking for similar questions in a knowledge base and giving the corresponding answer. Artificial Intelligence techniques are employed in this matching process, to compare the user’s question against questions stored in the base. The main advantage of using the VA is to minimize information overload when users get lost in Websites. The VA can guide the user across the web pages or directly supply information. This is especially important for customers visiting an enterprise site, looking for products, services or prices or needing information about some topic. The VA can also help in Knowledge Management processes inside enterprises, offering an easy way for people storing and retrieving knowledge. An extra advantage is to reduce the structure of Call Centers, since the VA can be given to customers in a CD-ROM. Furthermore, the VA provides Webmasters with statistics about the usage of the VA (themes more asked, number of visitants, time of conversation).
virtual assistant; intelligent interfaces; chatterbots; natural language interaction.