Currently,  every major city has its tourist spots. These spots are specifically groomed and readied for the visitor. These spaces are made with the tourists in mind rather than the locals in mind. Cities have become curated with the tourist in mind thus providing an unauthentic and unethical experience for the traveler. This realization inspired me to pursue creating an experience that is ethical, spontaneous for the traveler, and beneficial to the local community.

ROAM currently intervenes within the Harlem community in New York City.

Role: User Experience Researcher,  UX Designer, Front End Developer, Interaction Designer

Methods: Generative Research, Qualitative Research, Physical Computing, Rapid Prototyping,  Iterative Design, HTML, CSS, Javascript

Team:  Milan Gary


The Project

ROAM is a wearable navigation device that uses a cooperative platform and the concept of ethical travel to promote a more dynamic cultural exchange between locals and travelers, with the ultimate goal of promoting positive community development.

The End Goal

To have a working prototype for the experience.


The User

Individuals who seek an adventure that's not pre-determined and very spontaneous.

Someone who seeks to support local businesses and practice conscious consumerism both where they currently live and where their travels lead them.



Ethical travel is both a state of mind and action that promotes respect, awareness and financial support towards the native culture and locals.

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 5.36.47 PM.png

Concept Video

Using an earlier prototype, this video shows how a user might find ROAM and initiate it.

Mind MAp(s)

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 5.34.41 PM.png

These mind maps show the progression of my idea development. Domains are the main element of these maps, the sub domains help me to explore connections between the main domains. This process is arduous but very necessary in my project concept development.


I conducted various interviews and workshops where native Harlem community members relayed stories of their favorite memories and places within Harlem. 

These stories help to shape and design the ROAM experience within the Harlem community.

Below are audio clips of these interviews that reveal personal stories and connections that these locals have to Harlem.

Harlem Churches.mp3Artist Name
00:00 / 06:26
Serengeti Tea & Spices.mp3Artist Name
00:00 / 10:21
Marcus Garvey Park.mp3Artist Name
00:00 / 01:15
Childhood in Harlem.mp3Artist Name
00:00 / 05:01

ROAM Mobile

Screen Shot 2019-04-28 at 8.05.14 PM.png




I started with simple paper prototypes to get a better understanding of the overall user experience. Once tech was involved the form of the wearable adjusted to accommodate the technical components.

I first sketched storyboards of the experience that I wanted the user to have. Then as the prototypes advanced and adjusted based on user testing feedback, I sketched different forms that the wearable could take.

Various users tested these prototypes. Some tests took place in Philadelphia, while others took place in Harlem and Chelsea.

Next Steps

The next steps are to expand beyond Harlem and start user testing with our current prototype. The physical form will not end up being a patch, so I will have to go back to the drawing board and tease out more product designs.