## What is worse than a pie chart?

posted Wed 1 Aug 2007 by Michael Galloy under VisualizationYes, two pie charts, but also one of these pixel pie charts that are appearing around the web.

The graph to the left represents nine numbers. How about just listing them in a table or, if you must, using a bar graph?

Anil Dash wrote a post about these new graphs. I particularly found this statement amusing:

How come it took so long to figure out that pie charts are pretty hard to actually glean data from?

Then try to determine if we spend more on “Shelter” or “Transportation” in the graph to the left. You could count the squares of each (a tedious process for such a trivial task) or read the number (which a table does better). You would have a fairly impressive sense of geometry if you could just glance at the graph and tell. My conclusion: pixel pie charts aren’t any better to glean data from.

Of course, these pixel pie charts don’t fix the major problem of pie charts: they are 2D objects representing 1D quantities. At least I haven’t seen any faux 3D pixel pie charts (yet).