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« The three laws of great graphs | Main | Worth a click »

Bar graphs vs. Pie charts

Compare!

The bar graph is read left to right and seems to imply something about the declining relevance of Billygoats (even though close inspection shows that we expect high growth in billygoats next year). There's data here, but no information.

The pie chart contains far less data, but the point is obvious: Trolls are where we should focus our energy.

That's why you use it. It makes an obvious point and leaves no real room for discussion. I think discussions are great, but that's not why you are doing a presentation.

I stepped on the toes of many data presentation purists yesterday, so let me reiterate my point to make it crystal clear: In a presentation to non-scientists (or to bored scientists), the purpose of a chart or graph is to make one point, vividly. Tell a story and move on. If you can't be both vivid and truthful, it doesn't belong in your presentation. (I can think of dozens of good uses of bar graphs... they're not forbidden, they're just overused and misused).

Pie


Bar

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Bar graphs vs. Pie charts:

» Seth on bar charts from Junk Charts
Seth followed up his post about graphics with a specific post about pie charts versus bar charts. He prefers pie charts. We happen to agree with his unhappiness of grouped bar charts. Unfortunately he compared an univariate pie chart (depicting poin... [Read More]

» What is Your Opinion on Pie Charts? from Pointy Haired Dilbert - Chandoo.org
Pie charts are one of the most used charts in the world. And for obvious reasons: they are simple to create and easy to understand. When it comes to pie chart, I have no clear opinion. Part of me says use them, the other says avoid them. What is your ... [Read More]

« The three laws of great graphs | Main | Worth a click »