Rogers, B., Masoodian, M., & Apperley, M. (2018). A virtual cocktail party: Supporting informal social interactions in a virtual conference. In Proc 2018 International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces (AVI 2018). New York, NY: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/3206505.3206569
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12184
Whilst the primary purpose of conferences is work — formal exchange and sharing of information — they almost always also include elements of play: Informal social and entertainment elements, such as receptions, dinners, and tourism activities. These activities also provide the opportunity for ‘serious’ discussions, meeting people, and networking, and are an essential part of a good conference. Despite this, most virtual conferencing tools fail to provide support for such activities, instead focusing on austere goals related to saving money, time, and travel. This paper describes the concept of a Virtual Cocktail Party (VCP) tool to integrate into a virtual conference environment. In VCP the ‘party’ is presented as a mixture of individuals and small conversation groups ‘circulating’ at the virtual venue. Exploiting an automated speech-to-text system, words from conversations are shown in word-clouds displayed around conversation groups, sufficient to identify topics of conversation allowing participants to decide whether or not to join a group.
This is the authors version of a work published in the Proceedings of the 2018 International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces. © 2018 Copyright held by the owner/author(s)