Vox Box


How can we best engage a crowd to give their opinions and feedback in-situ?


Tour de France, Electro Magnetic Field

Gauging public opinion and gathering feedback can help organisations for example to improve the experience provided at public events, improve products or customer services, or target audiences for engagement in political or local issues. However, it can be difficult to get people to give their feedback. Handing out questionnaires at events can provide in-situ feedback but requires interrupting people in their activities and may result in low response levels. Emails or web surveys after the event can reach a large audience but response rates are typically low and feedback is taken out of context.

VoxBox aims to turn the task of filling out a questionnaire individually at an event into a pleasurable and engaging experience of giving feedback that can be done by individuals as well as groups together. VoxBox is a tangible questionnaire machine that allows event attendees to share their views using a range of physical sliders, dials and buttons. They can then see how their views compare to those of others at the event by looking at real-time data visualisations presented on the other side of the device.

VoxBox was designed by considering traditional questionnaire structure and limitations, and employs deliberate strategies to encourage participation and completion, show progress throughout the survey, group similar questions, gather answers to open and closed questions, and connect answering and seeing results more closely.

The system is modular and consists of five question modules, which relate to demographics, current mood, crowd information, event feedback and an interactive telephone question asking open-ended questions. The system was developed with Arduino boards and it uses I2C as a communication strategy, allowing all question modules to communicate with a main control point. A WiFi shield enables connection with a backend server where all data is uploaded and processed before being visualised in real-time on the back of the VoxBox.

VoxBox was deployed in the wild at two London fan parks for the Tour De France, a one-day Digital Democracy event in Cardiff, and a hacker festival in Milton Keynes during the summer of 2014. Over 200 people used the VoxBox at these four events, from whom feedback on the events was collected through the VoxBox, and data was gathered on the use of VoxBox through user observations.

Following these events the research team have been overwhelmed with requests for the VoxBox to be used in different venues and events, for example to gather feedback on student open days, to evaluate an interactive play for children, and to gather census data.