Pie chart

138 posts
Make your color legend better with one simple rule

The pie chart about COVID-19 worries illustrates why we should follow a basic rule of constructing color legends: order the categories in the way you expect readers to encounter them. Here is the chart that I discussed the other day, with the data removed since they are not of concern in this post. (link) First look at the pie chart. Like me, you probably looked at the orange or the...

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When the visual runs away from the data

The pressure of the coronavirus news cycle has gotten the better of some graphics designers. Via Twitter, Mark B sent me the following chart: I applied the self-sufficiency test to this pie chart. That's why you can't see the data which were also printed on the chart. The idea of self-sufficiency is to test how much work the visual elements of the graphic are doing to convey its message. Look...

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Pie chart conventions

I came across this pie chart from a presentation at an industry meeting some weeks ago: This example breaks a number of the unspoken conventions on making pie charts and so it is harder to read than usual. Notice that the biggest slice starts around 8 o'clock, and the slices are ordered alphabetically by the label, rather than numerically by size of the slice. The following is the same chart...

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The unspoken rules of visualization

My latest is at DataJournalism.com. It's an essay on the following observation: The efficiency and multidimensionality of the visual medium arise from a set of conventions and rules, which regularises the communications between producers of data visualisation and its consumers. These conventions and rules are often unspoken: it's the visual equivalent of saying ’it goes without saying’ . There are lots of little things visualization designers do in their sleep...

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Tightening the bond between the message and the visual: hello stats-cats

The editors of ASA's Amstat News certainly got my attention, in a recent article on school counselling. A research team asked two questions. The first was HOW ARE YOU FELINE? Stats and cats. The pun got my attention and presumably also made others stop and wonder. The second question was HOW DO YOU REMEMBER FEELING while you were taking a college statistics course? Well, it's hard to imagine the average...

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Inspiration from a waterfall of pie charts: illustrating hierarchies

Reader Antonio R. forwarded a tweet about the following "waterfall of pie charts" to me: Maarten Lamberts loved these charts (source: here). I am immediately attracted to the visual thinking behind this chart. The data are presented in a hierarchy with three levels. The levels are nested in the sense that the pieces in each pie chart add up to 100%. From the first level to the second, the category...

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Seeking simplicity in complex data: Bloomberg’s dataviz on UK gender pay gap

Bloomberg featured a thought-provoking dataviz that illustrates the pay gap by gender in the U.K. The dataset underlying this effort is complex, and the designers did a good job simplifying the data for ease of comprehension. U.K. companies are required to submit data on salaries and bonuses by gender, and by pay quartiles. The dataset is incomplete, since some companies are slow to report, and the analyst decided not to...

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Watching a valiant effort to rescue the pie chart

Today we return to the basics. In a twitter exchange with Dean E., I found the following pie chart in an Atlantic article about who's buying San Francisco real estate: The pie chart is great at one thing, showing how workers in the software industry accounted for half of the real estate purchases. (Dean and I both want to see more details of the analysis as we have many questions...

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Light entertainment: the crack pie that escaped and then resurfaced on TV

A famous restaurant bowed to pressure recently to rename its famous item, previously known as the "crack pie" (link). The crack pie that escaped the Milk Bar showed up here: Thanks to twitter friend DorsaAmir for alerting us to this chart.

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The unreasonable effect of chart labels

In discussing the bar-density and pie-density charts with a buddy (thanks LB!), it became obvious that the labeling is a challenge. And he's right. Here is the pie-density chart for the Youtube views with the labels as originally conceived. These labels are trying too hard to provide precise data to the reader. Here are some simplified labels that get at the message rather than the data: Here is a slightly...

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