When choosing visuals for our presentations, one of the most important things to consider is accuracy. Interestingly, the human brain is more able to detect differences and make comparisons viewing certain types of graphs but less so in others, so choosing the right ones that match our purpose can make a big difference.
Let’s take a look at the graphic below from Alberto Cairo’s “The Functional Art”.
This doesn’t mean you can only restrict yourself to certain graph types. It means that you need to consider how precisely you want your reader to interpret the data you are showing and present them with a graph that allows them to do that easily.
The pie charts to the right cannot show this difference easily since from the diagram above, we can see that the “angle” is lower on the list. Thus the visual on the left is much more effective than the pie graphs.
So when you are at the point in your design to decide which graph to use, accuracy should play an important factor in your choice. And you can refer to the handy scale above.
For more examples of graph choice and other data viz articles, take a look at this post about funnel and donut charts!