The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

The archives will remain online indefinitely.

Doughnut time. Are pie charts "old school"?

I was reading the Economist yesterday and noted that they used dougnut charts where once there would have used pie charts. 

I am wondering, are doughnut charts the way of the future? I am wondering because I am hooking up charting in my app and am now wondering whether to implement pie or doughnut charts.

Would appreciate any insights.

Regards
revenueX
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
 
 
"There's no school like the old school".  Pie-charts are fine for showing percentages.
AllanL5
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
 
 
Many people on the web have commented about the fact that dougnut charts with the hole in the middle keep you from seeing/measuring the actual angle of each section. But doughnut charts can contain multiple "layers" of concentric sections which pie charts can not.

I don't personally have a preference but I certainly wouldn't say that doughnut charts are better or are taking over in any way.
dood mcdoogle
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
 
 
Allen David
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
 
 
See the Wikipedia entry on pie charts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_chart#Discussion_on_use) for some problems with them. I assume the same issues apply to doughnut charts.
JW
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
 
 
The Wikipedia entry is naive. "While pie charts are common in business and economics, they are uncommon in scientific literature. One reason for this is that it is more difficult for comparisons to be made between the size of items in a chart when area is used instead of length."

Nah. The first and foremost reason why scientists don't use pie charts is that it would make their papers look like business stuff.
Roman Werpachowski Send private email
Thursday, August 23, 2007
 
 
"Nah. The first and foremost reason why scientists don't use pie charts is that it would make their papers look like business stuff."

Seems plausible. But keep in mind that scientists presumably try to be as transparent as possible while business seems to try to be as opaque as possible. When I used to teach Excel, the most common charting requests were those associated with putting a pretty face on an ugly fact. The second most common requests were those associated with getting fancy, usefullness be damned.
Ron Porter Send private email
Thursday, August 23, 2007
 
 
Is it too late to patent 'Croissant charts'?
Martin Send private email
Thursday, August 23, 2007
 
 
"scientists presumably try to be as transparent as possible"

Only presumably. In reality, people often try to present their charts in such a way that the part which is "good" (like, their model agrees with the experiment) is the most prominent and the part which is "bad" is not as prominent. Or try to hide those features in the plot which they have no explanation for, but yet show them in the plot so if someone else discovers that "this strange peak in the resonance spectrum" is important, they can claim to be the first ones to obtain it.
Roman Werpachowski Send private email
Thursday, August 23, 2007
 
 
Yeah right, scientists want to be transparent.  That's why they lock up the primary output of their work in expensive obscure journals.
SomeBody Send private email
Thursday, August 23, 2007
 
 
They don't.

http://www.arxiv.org

Alternatively, most scientists have a working email address. You can write to the author of a paper and ask him for a copy. Most likely they'll send you one (they want to disseminate their work).

Besides, the authors of papers have no control over how scientific journals work.
Roman Werpachowski Send private email
Friday, August 24, 2007
 
 
Mmmmm, donuts.
Stan James Send private email
Friday, August 24, 2007
 
 
Roman, on the contrary, the authors of papers have total control over the way journals work.  If they don't like their work being locked up behind expensive subscriptions, they can - and, increasingly, do - submit it to journals that do not lock their work up behind expensive subscriptions.  If all the best researchers do this, the expensive journals will adjust their practices to compensate.

Regarding pie charts, academics hate them because (a) they're easy to do in Excel, and (b) they're difficult to do in LaTeX...
Iago
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 
Iago,

of course I had the option not to publish my paper in Physical Review A (one of the best physics journals around) but in some obscure Acta Physica Academia Mongoliana, because it is an open access journal... is that what you recommend?

Nobody does charts in LaTeX, btw.
Roman Werpachowski Send private email
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 
Not a bad question.

We have an extensive graphing library (using TeeChart) & have found that graphing more than anything else seems to get people asking for there pet look & feel. When it comes to piecharts, should the items be plotted clockwise or anticlockwise, starting from 3 o'clock or 12 o'clock etc.

Seems to be a bit of fashion involved as well - less borders, horizontal background stripes and doughnut graphs are all very 'in' at the moment ;-)

So I would have to say that doughnut graphs are a little more trendy & upto date; call it the iPod scroll wheel influence, so why not go for them and among all the graphing options allow a filled centre to the doughnut - call it the pie option. Bound to be back in fashion sooner or later. ;-)
Grant Black Send private email
Monday, August 27, 2007
 
 

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
 
Powered by FogBugz