Article published in:Information Visualization
Edited by Isabel Meirelles and Katherine Gillieson
[Information Design Journal 23:1] 2017
► pp. 65–79
Designing diagrams for Wikipedia
Despite the high usage of diagrams and images in Wikipedia, as well as across all Wikimedia projects, few studies have been conducted on the role of visual contents within the online encyclopedia and on the collaborative creation of diagrams. This article describes research that brought a group of designers into Wikipedia, with the goal of exploring how information designers act on this platform and how other users react to their involvement. Inspired by the WikiEdu Program, we engaged postgraduate design students in the creation of diagrams for Wikipedia and then followed the reactions of both users and designers to their work. The results of the experiment have been evaluated using built-in Wikipedia functions (e.g., page history and discussion pages) and through an anonymous survey among the students involved. This experience brought to light the different consideration granted to images and diagrams with respect to texts on the online encyclopedia. It also allowed a reflection on the role of designers in the knowledge production process, as well as on the meaning of producing “open” contents, which are meant to be improved by other people.
Keywords: collaborative project, design education, Information visualization, diagrams, image contribution, Wikipedia
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Published online: 20 July 2017