Pie Chart Faux Pas

dataemily Member Posts: 93 Type 2
edited March 2022 in General

Ok so we are probably all guilty of this- adding a pie chart for the sake of adding variety to our dashboard... RESIST THE URGE! πŸ™…πŸΏβ€β™€οΈπŸ™…πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ™…πŸ½β€β™€οΈ Pie charts are almost always illegible and difficult to read.

Share your favorite [BAD] pie charts in this thread to inspire others to kill the pie chart too!

(Curious why pie charts are so bad? Cole gives a great explanation here!)

Or watch here on how the Vizlib Industry Solutions team takes on various pie charts (good and mostly bad)



  • cody.riemenschneider
    cody.riemenschneider Member Posts: 7 mod

    One of my favorite quotes as I was scrolling through some bad pies

    β€œif you are creating a 3D chart of any kind, rethink your visual. If you are creating a 3D pie chart, rethink your career”

    😁😁😁 Believe it or not, there are good use classes for pies but 3D is not one of them

  • joe_warbington
    joe_warbington Member, Partner, Customer Posts: 158 Type 2

    One of my favorites, and a most appropriate use of a pie chart

  • joe_warbington
    joe_warbington Member, Partner, Customer Posts: 158 Type 2

    And just because you have the data, doesn't mean you need to assault people's eyes and minds with things like this 😜

  • Liron_Baram
    Liron_Baram Member, Administrator, Moderator, Astrato PMs, Employee Posts: 25 admin
    edited March 2022

    @dataemily @joe_warbington

    If you are not over-complicating things, pie charts are better than Bar charts or any other chart for a share of a whole. It's easier to say if a slice is a quarter of a circle or a quarter of a bar because the size of the circle isn't essential in a circle. You only care about the angle.

    For example, in which chart it's easier to estimate the share of the green area?

  • AliOko
    AliOko Member, Employee Posts: 2 Type 0

    Funny one

  • joe_warbington
    joe_warbington Member, Partner, Customer Posts: 158 Type 2

    Should I use a pie chart?

    Data visualizers beware! While the message that pie charts convey is generally recognizable (parts of a whole),Β the insights that pie charts provide are not.

  • joe_warbington
    joe_warbington Member, Partner, Customer Posts: 158 Type 2

    If you have kids in your life, I’m sorry for putting this awful song back in your head.

    🦈 pie chart from Zach Bowders: https://twitter.com/zachbowders/status/1504613101131476994?s=21

  • HendrikSpeelman
    HendrikSpeelman Member Posts: 6 Type 1
    edited April 2022

    I really don't understand this donut chart (it's not a pie but for me ends up in the same category). Numbers don't add up to 100% and it just does not make any sense. And truth be told, this chart is not made up πŸ˜‘. I often show this during my visualisation training to find out if someone can get some insights out of it.

    I do understand many people want to get rid of the pie chart, but sometimes it is a love-hate relationship as this has also an impact onto the company's culture. They don't want to change as they are used to using it. Which makes it difficult (even when it is a pie chart) to convince them other visuals are often better.

    I have made a blog post on how to 'effectively' use a pie chart, which you can find here: https://www.archonit-solutions.com/post/time-to-viz-pie-chart

    Hope it helps!

  • paulaK
    paulaK Member Posts: 4 Type 0

    @HendrikSpeelman - oh. That's a good (bad) one!

    Great tips you shared too - I like the progression to a better pie chart, followed by the more readable stacked bar chart.