EthioGift - An Introduction to the Case Study

The purpose of this project/activity is to introduce students to the Case Study for May/Nov 2011 by examining an existing e-commerce site using the information in the case study. Students will be introduced to the technical terminology which can then be expanded and built upon. This gives the students a firm and concrete example as a basis for the case study.

WAB students: what you should have done by now:

We will be working through the following: sometimes in class in group activities and sometimes individually.

Stage 1: Making sense of

Examine carefully the website and consult the notes that we took in class.

1.1 Market

(WAB etherpad)
Give a brief overview of
Who owns it?
Where is the site located?
Who are the customers?
What type of products are sold? Are these products perishable or not?

Please check here for WAB responses

1.2 Cultural Significance/Background

(WAB etherpad)
  1. There are a number of type of categories for gifts. Explain the significance of these categories.
  2. Explain the date system
  3. Why is the language of the site in English? Is this the main language of Ethiopia? Why
  4. Prices of the products - do you think these prices are reasonable?
  5. Currency conversion - why is that there
  6. Explain/describe the cultural significance of the gifts
    1. Examine the FAQ:
  • What does FAQ stand for?
  • Explain this sentence: "Can I make an order to someone if I know only his/her phone number but not woreda or kebele?"
  1. Examine the Terms of Service:
  2. Spot the spelling errors - do these matter?
  3. Examine the references to the sheep
  4. Look at the reference to the telephone
  5. General information - what does this text mean?

Please check here for WAB responses

1.3 Privacy Concerns and Data Storage

(WAB etherpad)
Brainstorm the type of data is stored:
  • What personal customer information is stored by the site; what information is required for the delivery.
  • Stock control and product information
Mock up the tables/database structure: give each table a name, and define the type of information stored for each record: name, data type.
Which tables will have relationships (connected)?
Read the privacy policy: Define the terms - third party, SSL protocol, vis-a-vis
What are some of the new services that EthioGift may be able to provide as suggested in the privacy policy.

Please check here for WAB responses

1.4 Social and Ethical Issues - mini assessment

In your opinion, examine the 3 most significant issues that the site owners/customers need to consider. This response will be assessed using the IB ITGS Paper 2 (d) generic mark scheme. Once you have reviewed that material in the sections above (and the links to the responses) you should spend 30 minutes planning and writing your response.

WAB Students - please upload to Moodle course by November 24th

Step 2: Technical Background

Making sense of web hosting company:

2.1 Market


Give a brief overview of
  • Who owns it?
  • Where is the business located?
  • Who are the customers?
  • What are the services provided?
  • What currency does the company operate in?

2.2 Web Hosting Comparisons


Compare and contrast the webhosting features: with
  • Domain Disk space (Mb)
  • Free Bandwidth (Mb/Month)
  • Email accounts Cost per month

2.3 Comparison with Case Study - IT systems

(Line 16) Current IT systems Carmen’s shop, Foto Creativa, has the following IT resources:
  • two computers, each with a large, high resolution monitor suitable for professional photography and video
  • a scanner
  • a photo-quality printer
  • a “high-end” digital camera and digital video camera
  • a laptop suitable for demonstrating and displaying work to customers
  • professional software for photography and video work
  • desktop publishing software
  • web development software
  • a small network with a server, including a RAID backup system
  • broadband Internet access
  • a spreadsheet for keeping all financial and customer records.


Imagine you are a computer company that will be supplying all the above hardware and software to Carmen. Select a name for your company. You must research each item, price it, find an image and also the configuration/details/specification that is required. You should put these items into a slideshow with the details.

Here is the beginning of a slide show that you can use as an example:

You also need to create a spreadsheet (with formulae) to show the pricing of the products you have suggested in your presentation. Remember, if you use currencies other than Euro (remember that Spain uses the Euro), then you need to be able to change the rates (these change daily!) and this will automatically update the spreadsheet. In one column you need to have a link in the spreadsheet for each item. You should put links in the spreadsheet to each item. I have started a spreadsheet here which you could use and build on. Please use formatting tools and add totals etc

In class, each team will present and then we will decide which team to go with!

(DO LATER - Not for Nov 26 Homework) Discuss which of the above IT systems the authors of the website may have.

2.4 Comparison with Case Study - Web Content Management

(Line 39) Web content management
To run an e-commerce business successfully, Carmen needs a web content management system (Web CMS) to:
  • organize and present information about her products and services through a consistent user interface
  • provide e-marketing
  • interface data from the central database
  • provide secure access to customers to view and upload files
  • provide an e-commerce facility (with a shopping cart service).


Examine each of the above - to what extent does's web content management system provide these features/functions?

2.5 Comparison with Case Study: E-marketing

(line 63) E-marketing


Define each of the following and then look for these features in to see if these are provided. You need to provide evidence, for example an annotated screen shot. Remember, you only have user access. If you can't find the feature, discuss whether the feature be available for the administrator of the site.
  • ad banners
  • a blog
  • RSS feeds
  • bulk e-mails
  • site traffic analysis / web-counters
  • multimedia content

2.6 Comparison with Case Study: Technical Requirements

However, there are technical requirements that Carmen must meet whether she chooses a free or commercial Web CMS. She will need:
  • a domain name
  • a hosting account – one of the more popular configurations includes:
    • MySQL database management system (DBMS)
    • PHP / other scripting language
    • Linux operating system
    • Apache web server
  • a shopping cart system – purchased or open source
  • a payment merchant account
  • SSL-encrypted web site pages.


  1. Define each of the above.
  2. Can you find evidence of these features in If so, provide evidence, for example an annotated screen shot. Remember, you only have user access.
  3. Discuss whether the feature could be available for the administrator of the site, by looking at the web host features provided by and
  4. Could Carmen use this service based on her e-marketing and/or technical requirements? If so, how much will this cost her per month in US dollars?
  5. Now go to to
  6. How does the cost of EthioLink compare with the hosting companies listed here?
  7. Suggest a web hosting company that may be better for Carmen.



Look through each of the following challenges that Carmen may face. How may/has ethiogift deal(t) with these challenges? Rank these in order (with justification) from largest to smallest. Remember, if you can propose a solution, this would lesson the challenge.
  1. how customers and potential customers can be informed of new products and offers through the web site or other e-marketing techniques
  2. different project management techniques to develop the new web site
  3. how a range of multimedia features can be effectively integrated on the web site
  4. how products are purchased through the use of an appropriate shopping cart service
  5. a range of open source and commercial Web CMSs
  6. methods of payment for goods (and delivery) purchased using the shopping cart, such as PayPal, credit card payments and direct deposit to account
  7. appropriate privacy and other policies for the web site
  8. search engine optimization so that the web site appears on the first page of results
  9. the role of web site traffic analysis
  10. techniques that can be used to secure a web site
  11. policies that could lead to a secure web site
  12. the relationships between the data, the DBMS and applications
  13. the features offered by a range of web-hosting services

Next Steps

Now that you have completed this activity you need to review all the technical terminology.