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Donut Charts - Why Are They Used in Some Edna Reports?

I have a question about Donut Charts.

I have no special preference here, I’m just seeking an informed opinion.

I’ve noticed that Sam tends to use Donut Charts in the reports he develops, or he did at one time.

I’ve heard other persons who do nothing but ridicule them.

So, my question is, why do Sam, and others, lean on Donut Charts?

Thanks.

John Giles

1 Like

Hi John,

With doughnut charts, you can probably lump in pie charts too.

I like doughnut charts, prefer them over pie charts, when you are splitting a doughnut/pie chart by a category that has 5+ different values it can be difficult to differentiate values/size. If you have lots of categories, say upwards of 12, a doughnut/pie chart can have no value as you can’t work out what is what or values are so close together it’s difficult to differentiate which is bigger etc. It can get messy.

Why you shouldn’t use pie charts (unimelb.edu.au)%20are%20tricky%20to%20show.)

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Thank you, DavieJoe.

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No worries, others will probably be more concise than myself.

One thing about doughnut charts, if you have 3, 4 or 5 categories in them they can work as a great slicer on your report page, with data labels making things clear. You could also add in a KPI in the doughnut hole for more context etc.

It’s not that they are fundamentally bad, it’s how you use/deploy them is the real key.

:doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut: :doughnut:

“mmmmmm doughnuts”

@JohnG,

Terrific question.

Even though @DavieJoe is spot-on in every respect IMO, because pie charts deserve to be kicked while they’re down, I’ll add a couple of other good articles to the discussion:

That all being said, @MudassirAli made a really profound statement in his excellent interview on the Advanced Visualization Courses we released last month. In talking about his reports, he discussed how he tries to avoid/limit the use of slicers, because slicers take up a lot of space and convey no information. His point (per DavieJoe’s above) is that often slicers can be replaced by charts that DO convey information. So, in the EDNA reports, @sam.mckay often uses donut charts with a small number of categories in place of a list slicer, because they are space-efficient and while not without flaws, convey SOME information.

  • Brian
2 Likes

Speaking of slicers…

What are your (plural) thoughts, on the use of “popup menus” to hide slicers on a visual when they’re not being used?

John Giles

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Just for clarity, you probably wouldn’t have a pop up menu for hiding slicers on a visual, I’m assuming you mean a pop up menu for a whole report page.

I’m going to cop out and say “It depends”. If you look through the Power BI reports that have been created in the EDNA Power BI Challenges you will see some great uses of pop up menus. It really depends on your users and what you are trying to achieve.

@BrianJ made a great point about what @MudassirAli said his excellent interview in how he tries to avoid or limit using slicers and he uses his graphs and visuals to be the slicers. That really resonated with me.

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@JohnG ,

Personally, if they’re done well I really like them. Slicers do take up a lot of space, but are also quite useful and users really tend to like them. The popout slicer panel let you have your cake and eat it too, plus they have a cool visual “wow” aspect to them.

  • Brian
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Thanks for providing the clarification, DavieJoe. Yes, a pop up menu for the entire page.

JohnGiles

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@JohnG ,

If you’re interested in implementing this technique, @datazoe created a terrific step-by-step guide for how she implemented this in her outstanding Data Challenge #10 report:

  • Brian
2 Likes

Thanks, Brian.

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All,

Came across this today on Reddit, credited to Steve Wexler. Thought it was an interesting addendum to our discussion about pie charts, donut charts and bar charts.

  • Brian
2 Likes

I love donut charts. They are better than pie charts. Much cleaner. And best used when you need to show a breakdown better 3-5 different attributes.

If people are hating on it, I would take it with a grain of salt.

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