Posts Tagged ‘pie charts’

The Best American Infographics 2013

Book highlights the finest infographics from the past year.

Displays an incredible variety of high-quality graphics ranging from highly technical to whimsical. The book demonstrates many styles and many ways to visually communicate data and ideas. An invaluable source of inspiration.

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Pie Chart Phobia?

GoodReader Avoids Pie, But Does This Serve the Reader?

This overly elaborate infographic presents the same information as a classic pie chart or even a table. Does it do it better? I think not.


It could be that the publication thinks a classic pie or table does not match the image they want to present. Unfortunately, this chaotic presentation makes it much harder for the reader to make sense of the information.

Either a pie or a table sorted by percentage would quickly communicate the top reasons for quitting. This presentation leaves the reader hunting for key information. Why this jumbled spatial arrangement?

The leading factor is labeled in slightly larger type and bolded, but the significance is lost in a sea of bad typography. No typographic hierarchy is maintained in the rest of the labels. Why so many crummy fonts?

Say, what makes you stop reading an infographic?

Cascade of Pies Intrigues

iStrategy arranges pie charts to explore relationships and display relative importance

This alternative to a simple rectilinear arrangement of charts is not only more visually appealing, but also encourages the viewer to consider how the different datasets relate to each other. At the top of the infographic a bright red pie shows the total media market. As the viewer travels downward, different aspects of the mobile market are presented. Related topics are grouped and identically colored. Additional breakdowns of pie slices are shown as overlapping pies.

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The Power of Showing Not Telling

The new book “An Illustrated Guide to Income in the United States” presents a comprehensive collection of infographics, maps and charts looking at the history of incomes and occupations in the United States.

Data can be a powerful persuader. Instead of pages and pages of text spoon feeding the reader with conclusions, this book presents a large dataset in a format that empowers the reader to study the data itself to draw their own independent conclusions.

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New distribution technology is empowering too… the entire book can be read online for free. It can also be purchased as a PDF for $15, paperback + PDF for $42.50, or hardback + pdf for $60.

Sometimes Less Communicates More

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Chart of the Day replots IBM data

This re-plotting of the IBM data is not only more visually appealing, but eliminates the clutter that made the original so difficult to understand. Perhaps it eliminates too much: the pie chart of the left would be more understandable if the slices added up to 100%. Adding a 76% wedge for the for non-mobile devices would help us understand the big picture. Nevertheless, the pie chart on the right is the meat of the story, does add up to 100%, and communicates the point of the story very clearly. Why did all those recently-sold Android devices end up lost in the sock drawer?

Failure to Visually Communicate

November 27, 2012 1 comment

IBM proves that visual communication requires skill

The headline was clever:

“Is It Time To Conclude That Android Gadgets Are Bought By People Who Don’t Actually Do Anything With Them?”

Unfortunately, the accompanying graphic combined a pie chart, three bar charts, various oddly drawn lines, and numerous poorly positioned labels into one confusing mess. Inconsistent coloring suggested relationships that did not exist. Some label pairs were stacked so closely that they looked like single labels whose text made no sense — just a bit of vertical separation between “Mobile” and “Fixed” and between “Tablet” and “Phone” would have helped a lot. So sad to have such an interesting dataset so totally obscured by horrid design. It could have been great.

Consistency is Essential

Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism produces a less than excellent graph

Readers are often in a hurry and they appreciate the use of graphics to communicate quickly. Graphic artists must be careful to not mislead a reader who does not have the time to carefully scrutinize and interpret a simple graph. The problem with this pie chart is that a quick glance creates the impression that the Kindle Fire has a market share of 21%. A more careful inspection reveals that the correct value is about 10%.

Most readers will assume that all the callouts in a single pie chart will refer to the whole pie (100%). In this pie chart the 21% callout refers to the 48% slice. This misleads the reader. Don’t do this!