This paper presents insights from a pilot study in which we used a Virtual Experience Prototype (VEP) to gather qualitative feedback in an online evaluation context. For our study, we created a VEP consisting of a non-immersive virtual reality simulation of an urban robot to inform the design of robotic expressions. Through the means of video conferencing software, we were able to collect qualitative data through the think-aloud protocol while participants interacted with the VEP, followed by subsequent in-depth interviews. By comparing our data to findings from previous in-the-wild deployments, we report on aspects which were comparable to in-person evaluations. Reflecting on our approach, we present a preliminary list of lessons learnt and examine how VEPs can support researchers and practitioners to gain rich feedback from participants in synchronous remote user testing. While bearing in mind the limitations over physical prototypes, we argue that VEPs can be used as a lightweight tool to engage participants in remote interviews through interactive spatial experiences.
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Technology Used: Unity, C#, Java with Processing, Ableton Live