The field of Virtual Conversational Characters (VCCs) is an emerging discipline that is growing in importance, both in industry and the research community. A VCC could be an avatar representing a user in virtual meeting spaces such as chat rooms or MUDs, a part of the Human Computer Interface between user and application/web-page or, in some cases, the ultimate interface metaphor to information and computer-based services.
This is a multidisciplinary field that embraces HCI, graphics and animation, embodied agents, dialogue management, machine learning, markup languages to direct the VCC, text-to-speech synthesis (and perhaps speech-to-text for input), etc. Companies as well as researchers are developing VCC systems and applying the VCCs as sophisticated intelligent interfaces to applications and Web pages as well as creating Virtual Lecturers in education, Virtual Salespersons in e-commerce, Virtual Actors and 3rd Person avatars in entertainment and computer games, Web Interface Agents, News Presenters, etc.
It is crucial that this development is paralleled by evaluation. Too many of these interfaces or "helping assistants" have been ineffectual or invoked hostility in users because of developer's lack of understanding about basic acceptance criteria such as effectiveness, usability, trust, etc.
This workshop will bring both established and new researchers together to discuss the development, implementation and evaluation of VCC interface systems, the current VCC state-of-the-art and to create a vision for the future of VCC interface technology.
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