Audioconferencing systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated, seeking to improve immersion, intelligibility, and sense of presence. Various opportunities exist to make mobile multiparty conference calls more realistic, interactive, and immersive. These include spatial audio, interactive manipulation of avatar positions, and whisper mode. The authors analyze the utility of avatar movement and sidebar whisper-mode functionality within which a subset of participants can engage in an ad-hoc sidebar conversation privately from the remaining participants. Participants found that avatar movement was useful, but approximately half the participants only used this feature for initial positioning of the avatars in a desired configuration in the first task. The ability to maintain sidebar conversations was used frequently and rated highly in negotiation activity. However, participants made almost no use of this feature in the conversation activity for which negotiation was not involved.
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