Participation in local governance takes considerable time and effort, and those who are consulted on local decision-making with promises of improvements can often feel that their input has had little effect. These factors can lead citizens to feel that they have little ability to influence their local area.

In response to these issues, Viewpoint was designed to explore how simple technologies public places can allow people to participate in local democracy as they go about their daily business. Whereas traditional methods are aimed at collecting high-fidelity data from a small number of people, Viewpoint instead aims to take a broader measure of opinion in the community.

The original Viewpoint was designed as part of the Bespoke project and deployed in Preston, where local councillors and community organisers were able to gather hundreds of votes a week on a variety of issues. A number of redesigned devices were deployed in Newcastle in 2012, where they were used in a number of settings, including by a grassroots organisation collecting evidence to support pedestrianisation in their community.

Key Publications

Taylor, N., Marshall, J., Blum-Ross, A., Mills, J., Rogers, J., Egglestone, P., Frohlich, D.M., Wright, P. and Olivier, P. (2012). Viewpoint: empowering communities with situated voting devicesProceedings of CHI 2012, ACM, 1361–1370. doi:10.1145/2207676.2208594.

Johnson, I.G., Vines, J., Taylor, N., Jenkins, E. and Marshall, J. (2016). Reflections on deploying distributed consultation technologies with community organisations. Proceedings of CHI 2016, ACM, 2945–2957. doi:10.1145/2858036.2858098 (Honorable Mention Award)


Digital citizen journalism leads to new forms of local decision making. The Guardian, 27th June 2011.

Gift of the gadgets to get residents talking. Lancashire Evening Post, 4th March 2011.