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A great, short talk by TargetPoint's VP and Director of Research, Alex Lundry, at DC Ignite. He addresses the issues of subjective messaging through visualization, the emergence of open data, some ideal data visualization tools, a set of quick lessons in graphic literacy, and a short list of recommended visualization books, all within the time span of 5 minutes.

Watch the movie below.

See also Political Chart Wars for more information about the subject. Via Sunlight Foundation Blog.



Pie Charts Suck! Excellent talk!

Thu 07 Jan 2010 at 4:46 AM

Pie Charts Suck! Excellent talk!

Thu 07 Jan 2010 at 4:58 AM

Excellent presentation! The time has come for datagraphics. Wish he had talked about looking at multiple datapoints within a single graphic though.

Mon 11 Jan 2010 at 9:50 PM

Well done. Illustrates exactly why data visualization proves "smarter" than spreadsheets!

Tue 12 Jan 2010 at 3:17 AM

Pie chart not sucks, if you use rightly.

Check yourself Surface Area of the Earth from

Wed 13 Jan 2010 at 4:52 AM

pie charts do suck.
The Surface of the Area of the Earth could be done better with bar charts and bars allow for other advantages such as data compression and alignment with legend information
In the case of the earth it might be visually compelling from a design point of view that the pie chart looks like a graphic of the earth , ie round, but from the point of communicating data it is inferior.
1. More difficult on a pie chart to visually sort the sizes from low to high (as demonstrated in video)
2. Hard to correlate slices to multiple pieces of information - ie correlating a legend and especially a multi column legend to the slices, where as it's easy in a table with bars
3. When there are several main big slices and many many small slices such that they have to be group together into an "others" slice, that other's slice can look like the biggest player.
4. The pie chart is always the same size so though it shows distribution it doesn't show magnitude. (in the case of the earth, now much area are we talking about?)
5. Real estate - pie charts take up a lot of room
6. If using overall size of pie chart to attempt to show magnitude, this can be misleading - circle comparisons problematic

Sat 16 Jan 2010 at 11:39 AM

Awesome! Great talk, and condensed nicely. Lots of important information jammed into that 5 minutes.

And yes, pie charts DO suck.

Tue 19 Jan 2010 at 2:07 AM

I was just wondering if anyone what data viz tool was used to create the "Don't f*ck with graphic designers" image? Is it commercially available? Or even better, is it open source?

Fri 22 Jan 2010 at 5:50 AM

Excellent 5 minutes!

Fri 29 Jan 2010 at 7:48 PM
Ola Rosling

I especially enjoyed the Obama chart and the following pie chart take. Statistics deceive us, and once again we cannot ignore the underlying motivation when looking at any statistics, even a pie chart. My only favorite chart is that of the Box Office..

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 11:58 PM About 1 year ago I prepared a similar (wihtout the focus on Politics, but I did discuss Truth?)
Ignite Preso for our internal Web / Marketing Company Hello Group. I thought some people might enjoy more on this topic.

Sat 20 Feb 2010 at 7:52 AM

I think data visualization tools are very often abused, perhaps inadvertently buy often to make simple (or uninteresting) concepts look complex or interesting. A minor example (and my biggest pet peeve) is 3D charts to plot relationships between two variables. (Funny: I just noticed an add for "FusionCharts" on this web page that commits this very sin.)

Also, and somewhat related: I think statistical literacy is a necessary condition for what this guy calls "visual" data literacy. The statistically illiterate will be easily confused by cool-looking graphs and charts.

Thu 12 May 2011 at 12:44 AM
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