|Worst charts ever.
||[Feb. 13th, 2011|02:30 pm]
Suit up, son! You're going to Mars!
Take a look at this page. |
One could not ask for a more succinct lesson in all the possible failure modes of chart creation than this.
First we have a perfectly fine pie chart, titled "Identity."
Then we have "View of U.S.", which is this crooked bar-graph-like depiction of three approval ratings. Except that "more favorable" values are represented by a longer skyward-pointing arrow, which means that the objects with more favorable ratings appear lower on the page. So really it's a "disapproval" rating. How intuitive!
Next we have this disaster entitled "U.S. Pakistan policy." It looks like a pie chart sort of, but it adds up to 217%. WTF? Oh I see, it's just three separate percentages each representing responses to a yes/no question. How does the picture help me at all?
Now we have "Greatest Threat Facing Pakistan Today," which should be a pie chart, but instead is a series of shrinking icons. I get it, we're too cool to use two pie charts on the same page, even when that's the best representation.
Then comes "Earthquake aid," our third depiction of yes/no question data. Oh I get it, it's like a pie chart but with concentric rings instead of sectors. Hmm. I wonder if it's by linear measure or by area. Oh wait, it's not rings. It's actually two separate disks stacked concentrically, with the front one occluding some of the back one, with no meaningful conservation of visual area.
Next is "Which is an Act of Terrorism?" Instead of sensible pies or bars, we get these sticks of dynamite tied together. Classy. Is there any conservation of length here? Where does the actual bar begin and end? Why are "yes" and "no" aligned by their centers, but "no" and "don't know" are aligned by their bottoms?
Finally, we have "Religion," a perfectly fine bar approval rating bar graph. I guess someone needed to show us that they actually do know how to make bar graphs after all. Except the arches at the top kind of distort the size of the bars, obfuscating where the 100% mark. And it seems like they ought to have sprung for a fourth color.
Dear Part & Parcel, designers of these charts. Please back away slowly, before any more charts are harmed.