Graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (Class of 2023) with a BFA degree in Graphic Design. 

Currently interning at the Shanghai Rockbund Art Museum.

Featured Projects:

  1. Emobo
  2. Eaz-Eat
  3. Scent Catalog
  4. The Museum Maker
  5. Vertigo

Communication Design
Experimental Design
Experience Design


©Copyright Yimeng Yao


Printmaking 2022.03-2022.05
App design 2023.01-2023.03
See the printmaking version here
Role: user research, user interface, motion design, branding, ideation, prototyping, 
user testing, project management
Tools: figma, adobe AE, AI
Individual project
Location: Rome & Providence

Project Overview:

Walking through Rome’s old town, there are countless water fountains with ever-flowing streams. As a tourist, I find myself particularly drawn to the intricate forms of the sculptures and the frequency with which they appear throughout the city. While many passersby may find the fountains interesting, few seem to know the details about their history or function. It’s a pity because they may lose the opportunity to appreciate and gain insights from the artistic and architectural treasures that the city’s history has bequeathed to us.


How to create a way to provide basic information to people who are curious about the water fountains in Rome?


I designed Acqua, a mobile app that lets users scan water fountains they find intriguing as they walk through the city streets. The app provides basic information about the fountains and allows users to create a personal collection of their favorites, preserving their memories of these treasures in Rome.

My Approach

1. experience

in-person experience and thoughts
2. research

on-site research
competitive analysis
3. design

user flow
hi-fi design
interactive prototype
4. next stage?

usability test

1. Experience:

in-person experience and thoughts

My exchange semester was in Rome during the second half of my junior year. At the time, my design course focused on exploring the city of Rome. As I walked through the streets, I was drawn to the various water fountains, both large (as magnificent as Trevi Fountain) and small (that I didn’t notice when walking pass it) throughout the city. Some locals even leaned over to drink directly from the water spouts. I was curious about which water points were safe to drink from, where the water came from, and why it never stopped flowing. I noticed some fountains had QR codes that, when scanned, led me to download an app, and a new world of information of fountains’ locations, histories, and other information was presented in front of me.

2. Research

history and site

In order to meet the massive water needs of its huge population, the city of Rome was eventually supplied with 11 aqueducts by 226 AD, which were some of the city's greatest engineering achievements.

A quick over view of the aqueduct evolution since 1 AD:

typical fountain kinds

Roma Nasone (big nose)
-most common
-around #2500 in Rome
-little fountain

competitive analysis

The app mentioned above

“Waidy WOW” flow analysis

1. involve tons of fountains not only in Rome, but around major cities in Italy
2. categorized by size, and function, and can search by names
3. thorough information, including the water source, origin, history, point of interest, and events



Tourist - from the US - just arrived - age 24

“I am very interested in the culture and history of Rome, and I am surprised to find such variation of the statues on the fountain, wonder if there are specific meanings behind them.”

Tourist - from the US arrived 3 days - age 63

“I feel like I’m an idiot when someone told me you can drink water from the fountain, my wife and I have already paid a lot for bottled water.”

Local restaurant waiter - age around 40

“I grew up drinking water from the water fountains, I know exactly which fountain’s water is drinkable, but I’m not sure what the history and cultural meanings behind it.”



-an app to learn the Roman water system while walking in front of a fountain
-fulfill the curiosity of the fountain sculptural forms

-has to stand in front of a fountain and search between google and maps, which waste a lot of time
-manually take the photos and go back to search online, not always able to find information


-an easily used app to learn about the fountain’s history
-check whether the fountain is drinkable

-bought many bottles of water before knowing most of the fountains are drinkable

2. Design

mind map

user flow

wireframes & iterations

hi-fi interface

interactive prototype:

working progress documentations:

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