MS Web Development Project – Dissertation
Online Shopping Cart Development
Ch-2 Problem Definition Part-2
Customers private information can be misused online in various ways, some occur when the customer complete a web site registration, or when his actions are being recorded while he is browsing the web by means of cookies (Turban & king, 2003).
2.4.1: Website Registration:
While completing a website registration forms, customers are giving their personal information such as name, address, Email, and some times they may be asked to provide their credit cards numbers.
In their report, Nielsen et al. (2001) made a study on 20 “Business to customer” websites with 64 participants, where they found that 4% of the sales catastrophes occurred because the customers refused to enter their personal data. Although lager percentage did enter their information, they were not happy to do that. Some times, customers enter false information to proceed of what they were intending to do.
Customers are always worried of such personal information being misused, especially when they are dealing with tiny business websites; therefore tiny businesses should take that into account while intending to introduce an online shopping cart on their websites; that cart should be designed in a way that does not force the customer to register in order complete his purchases.
This section will guide you about what are Cookies and their use. In fact Cookies are considered as one of the things that threaten customers’ privacy. Turban & king (2003) define the cookies as: “A small piece of data that is passed back and forth between a website and the end users browsers as the user navigates the site; enable sites to keep track of users’ activities without asking for identifications.”
Each cookie should not exceed 4KB, each server or domain is allowed only 20 cookies, and servers should not expect a client to store more than 300 total cookies (Lutes, 2001).
Cookies are being used for many purposes, such as personalizing WebPages, maintaining customers’ transactions, and using them as a powerful technique for targeting advertisements. Cookies can do that through its ability to collect information about the customer’s interests, their preferences and their navigation attitudes. Turban & king (2003) mentioned that the customer’s self registration profile can be less accurate than the cookies-generated customer profile, as customers may not write their correct information when registering.
Unfortunately, customers’ information can be collected by cookies without the customer permission, the thing that may produce a big risk of invading customers’ privacy.
2.5 State without Cookies
Establishing a connection with a web server and transmitting HTML pages to the web browser or any other files required, is the responsibility of a communication protocol called, the Hyper Text Transport Protocol (HTTP) (Computer Desktop Encyclopaedia, n.d ).
Berghel ( 2001) describes the HTTP transaction sequence as:
1. Connect to the server.
2. Make requests to the server, such as data request, and “execute program”.
3. Fulfil the request.
4. Terminate the connection.
Once the transaction cycle is completed the connection between the client and the server is disconnected, the HTTP will become Stateless, which means that “any interaction between a web browser and a web server is independent of any other interaction.” (Williams & Lane 2003)
In that way, linking a request from a client with any previous requests from the same client is impossible, adding to that how hard it’s to know the time the customer enter the site or exit it(Lutes, 2001), the two things that should not be experienced especially while using a shopping cart.
This section will be based on Lutes (2001) discussion of the techniques that can be used to deal with the statelessness of the HTTP. Although his article is for ASP application, other applications can make use of it. The techniques are:
• PHP Sessions
• Query String
• New Solution
Cookies, their advantages and disadvantages were discussed in section (2.4.2)