Home → Chart Types → The Unbearable Lightness of Pie Charts [Data Visualization for Excel Users]
Well, a data visualization book cannot avoid pie charts, so here it is, a page about pie charts for my tutorial Data Visualization for Excel Users.
Enjoy and comment, please…
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It has been some time… but the most important lesson that I learnt from the book on Finance by Brearly, Myers and Stewart [ one of the classics] was the fact that if there is a ready market for a product, trust the market price more than all your sophisticated computations. Does the fact that the pie chart is so popular suggest to you that you could be way off base – maybe there is some logic to the madness. Time for some reflection. This was fun …. Look forward to your comment.
The way I Look at this issue -
a. people love pie charts
b. pie charts have some limitations
c. Therefore data visualization experts should suggest ways to overcome these limitations. [Do not use these charts is obviously not an option.]
“c. Therefore data visualization experts should suggest ways to overcome these limitations. [Do not use these charts is obviously not an option.]”
Data visualization experts do very often suggest great ways to overcome these limitations: use a chart type that is appropriate for your data.
I can’t see any possible reason why this is “obviously not an option”.
Obviously because after all our rantings about the limitations people continue to use pie charts – like it or not it is not going away.
It is also quite possible that we who are in the field are missing some aspect which makes this chart so popular – some psychological aspect, some sense of equilibrium [ gestalt theory] ??? We need to figure that out. Rather than approaching the issue from the “don’t use it ” perspective, we should analyse the issue from the ” why do they use it ?” perspective.
Totally agree with you Paresh!
We all know how a pie chart is a poor method for displaying information specially when comparing the size of the items [instead of length]. But we should defenitely start answering to the question: Why do most people insist on using pie charts?
Kundera – great author, amazing book. Spot on correlation.
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