I am passionately averse to the use of Pie-charts and have never been able to understand why a circular depiction with broken bits must be used when linear representations are available? Heck, the source data set in numbers would still show a better picture than the pie-chart itself.

I watched a re-run of the X-Men movie series and it struck me exactly how much the character of Storm was like a Pie-chart.

Honestly, what does she do? I can’t even seem to understand how ruining weather is a good thing. (anyone remember the movie Geostorm? That one bombed for the same reason too)

What’s important is she ruins every scene she’s in – not a good sign.

All I can recall is the performance was terrible and her dialogues sounded like they were scribbled by a 10-year old using crayon.

Not just a waste of screen space but a total waste of talent.

Can you draw the parallels here?

Does anyone really know what kind of data is a pie-chart may ever be useful for? Just plain simple flat nominal data – I can’t remember the last time I had a flat dataset with a maximum of 7 categories (making the case for men here who don’t recognize the million color shades that women do – “medium sea green” and “deep sea blue” aren’t that different to the male brain thus the basic spectrum would be the limit here, really)

When was the last time a pie-chart added aesthetic value atleast? Never.

Where does it rank with the other visual representation options? Can’t tell? Let me explain why, because pie-charts will never be able to show ordinal data! Wouldn’t ranking it then be hypocrisy?

Even when it is used, in the rare case by a novice, is it convincing enough for the audience? Have you tested the same data in a bar chart? What did they prefer? When was the last time you saw someone more comfortable trying to imagine superimposing one pie slice over the other and guessing how much one is larger than the other? Isn’t it easier to place bars next to each other and you instantly know with confidence.

And the very amount of effort in choosing the colors, placing the portions in order and now with the gamut of bevels and 3-D rotations they only trigger my craving for pizza – which is the definitive worst possible negative outcome.

I’ve made my case against pie-charts, let’s just stick to the beautiful, sharp and clean cut lines  for our data and make it easier for the audience to understand and trust what we are trying to portray.

Choose your hero wisely.

I like Wolverine better, you?



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