Pie chart

30 posts
Bar-density and pie-density plots for showing relative proportions

In my last post, I described a bar-density chart to show paired data of proportions with an 80/20-type rule. The following example illustrates that a small proportion of Youtubers generate a large proportion of views. Other examples of this type of data include: the top 10% of families own 75% of U.S. household wealth (link) the top 1% of artists earn 77% of recorded music income (link) Five percent of...

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Finding simple ways to explain complicated data and concepts, using some Pew data

A reader submitted the following chart from Pew Research for discussion. The reader complained that this chart was difficult to comprehend. What are some of the reasons? The use of color is superfluous. Each line is a "cohort" of people being tracked over time. Each cohort is given its own color or hue. But the color or hue does not signify much. The dotted lines. This design element requires a...

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Education deserts: places without schools still serve pies and story time

I very much enjoyed reading The Chronicle's article on "education deserts" in the U.S., defined as places where there are no public colleges within reach of potential students. In particular, the data visualization deployed to illustrate the story is superb. For example, this map shows 1,500 colleges and their "catchment areas" defined as places within 60 minutes' drive. It does a great job walking through the logic of the analysis...

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The downside of discouraging pie charts

It's no secret most dataviz experts do not like pie charts. Our disdain for pie charts causes people to look for alternatives. Sometimes, the alternative is worse. Witness: This chart comes from the Spring 2018 issue of On Investing, the magazine for Charles Schwab customers. It's not a pie chart. I'm forced to say the pie chart is preferred. The original chart fails the self-sufficiency test. Here is the 2007...

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Beauty is in the eyes of the fishes

Reader Patrick S. sent in this old gem from Germany. He said: It displays the change in numbers of visitors to public pools in the German city of Hanover. The invisible y-axis seems to be, um, nonlinear, but at least it's monotonic, in contrast to the invisible x-axis. There's a nice touch, though: The eyes of the fish are pie charts. Black: outdoor pools, white: indoor pools (as explained in...

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Doing my duty on Pi Day #onelesspie

Xan Gregg and I started a #onelesspie campaign a few years ago. On Pi Day each year, we find a pie chart, and remake it. On Wikipedia, you can find all manners of pie chart. Try this search, and see for yourself. Here's one found on the Wiki page about the city of Ogema, in Canada: This chart has 20 age groups, each given a different color. That's way too...

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Steel tariffs, and my new dataviz seminar

I am developing a new seminar aimed at business professionals who want to improve their ability to communicate using charts. I want any guidance to be tool-agnostic, so that attendees can implement them using Excel if that’s their main charting software. Over the 12+ years that I’ve been blogging, certain ideas keep popping up; and I have collected these motifs and organized them for the seminar. This post is about...

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Three pies and a bar: serving visual goodness

If you are not sick of the Washington Post article about friends (not) letting friends join the other party, allow me to write yet another post on, gasp, that pie chart. And sorry to have kept reader Daniel L. waiting, as he pointed out, when submitting this chart to me, that he had tremendous difficulty understanding it:   This is not one pie but six pies on a platter. There...

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Details, details, details: giving Zillow a pie treatment

This chart (shown right), published by Zillow in a report on housing in 2012, looks quite standard, apparently avoiding the worst of Excel defaults. In real estate, it’s all about location. In dataviz, it’s all about details. What are some details that I caught my eye on this chart? Readers have to get over the hurdle that “negative equity” is the same as “underwater homes.” This is not readily understood...

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Wheel of fortune without prizes: the negative report about negativity

My friend, Louis V., handed me a report from Harvard's Shorenstein Center, with the promise that I can make a blog post or two from it. And I wasn't disappointed. This report (link) caught some attention a few months ago because of the click-bait headline that the media is "biased" against Trump in his first 100 days. They used the most naive definition of "bias". The metric is the amount...

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