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Submissions/Information Graphics Workshop

From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012.

Submission no.


Title of the submission

Information Graphics Workshop

Type of submission (workshop, tutorial, panel, presentation)


Author of the submission

Tommi Kovala

E-mail address




Country of origin


Affiliation, if any (organization, company etc.)

Wikimedia Suomi

Personal homepage or blog


Abstract (at least 300 words to describe your proposal)

Information design is a subset of graphic design that involves turning knowledge into images. It includes maps, graphs, diagrams and many forms of representation that are not even invented yet.

Wikipedia has excellent articles on many topics, but the quality of its information graphics rarely matches that of the text. Many contributors are experts in their respective fields but lack the skill set needed to visualize their knowledge in a clear and attractive way. As a part-time teacher and Wiki activist, I've decided to help by giving out a course assignment in information design class: Improve Wikipedia!. This workshop is for people who want to run a class like this as well as for people who just want to try designing a visual display of information.

Formal education in graphic design is not an absolute requirement for making good displays of information. I have been teaching the information design course in Aalto University for several years, and many of the most memorable projects were made by students from outside the graphic design department. Good design is clear thinking made visible, not a plan for decoration.

In this workshop, I'll tell about my experiences in helping people visualize their thoughts. We'll open with a presentation of course works and a summary of things to keep in mind if you run a course like this yourself. This first part is aimed at other educators and activists.

The important part, however, is picking a Wikipedia article and improving it with information graphics. Bring a laptop with image editing software or a vector graphics program that can produce SVG files. Prior experience or education in graphics not required, but the subject of your graphic should be something that you're familiar with.

My aim is for everyone to take home some good rules of thumb and solid ideas of what to do and what not to do when it comes to improving Wikipedia's information graphics. You're welcome to attend just the presentation, but if you want to run a course like this I recommend that you stick around for the whole workshop and try designing something clear and beautiful yourself.

  • WikiCulture and Community; Research, Analysis, and Education
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)

Here are some examples of what our students have worked on during the course: http://informaatiomuotoilu.fi/2012/03/student-works-from-our-course-part-i/

Special request as to time of presentations

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with four tildes. (~~~~).

  1. Daniel Mietchen - WiR/OS (talk) 22:56, 18 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Wrightbus (talk) 13:49, 19 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Add your username here.