A virtual cocktail party: Supporting informal social interactions in a virtual conference

Bill Rogers, Masood Masoodian, Mark Apperley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAVI 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 International Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces
ISBN (Electronic)9781450356169
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces - Grosseto, Italy
Duration: 29 May 20181 Jun 2018
Conference number: 14


ConferenceInternational Working Conference on Advanced Visual Interfaces
Abbreviated titleAVI
Internet address


  • Conversation visualization
  • Speech recognition
  • Speech-to-text
  • Virtual conference
  • Virtual party
  • Virtual socialization

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