Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pie Charts & Visualization

I occasionally prowl around some random blogs related to design and data visualization and one of them had a post a few months ago that has a direct link to a conversation I had with my wife today. In the course of some of her school work she came across a poorly constructed pie chart, which led to a basic discussion regarding when pie charts are useful. In case you ever feel like reading a pretty decent article on when pie charts are effective, go to this article on Neoformix. Most of the statements are fairly obvious but they are stated effectively. Example:

"The circle is the natural design element that best represents the whole so it shouldn't be surprising that a pie chart is a good way to illustrate the proportion of a part in relation to that whole."

The cooler stuff at Neoformix is more recent. The recent post in March deals with an interactive visualization tool that allows you to explore the structure of a text document. There are a few example documents available on the website to try out, including Tom Sawyer and the 2007 State of the Union Address. It's worth playing with the application to see how it allows you to explore relationships between key terms in a document. In general, data visualization is something I am more interested in learning about if I could make the time - especially since I work in a field that has to do with the collection and management of data.

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