Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Hollywood Loves Pies

I recently received a tweet of support for my recent Information is Beautiful competition entry from Saakshita Prabhakar. She later asked if I could provide some feedback on the Visual.ly site for the piece she submitted. These were my impressions:

Comparison of pie chart segments can be extremely difficult since it can be challenging to measure angles or arc lengths with our eyes alone, especially when we are required to make comparisons between many diagrams distributed around a page. I like how in this image many of these problems have been eliminated. Firstly each segment begins at the standard 12 o’clock position which instantly makes things much easier as we are not required to use our brains to rotate them ourselves. By highlighting the 10% intervals we are also provided with a series of perceptual anchor points which our eyes make great use of when making quick comparisons between different areas of the page. We are also able to count these bars and accurately decipher the corresponding percentage if that is our intention, a task which would be almost impossible using standard pie charts.

The clean, uncluttered style makes it a joy to read, even the legend at the bottom looks lovely. It would work great as an interactive piece where the reader could expand each section to see which other movies came out in that period.

I wonder if it would have been possible to somehow also show total box office takings as well as a percentage of the total for that year? I say this because it appears on this diagram that Kung Fu Panda 2 did better than Toy Story 3, however this is not the case. Dreamwork's picture only did better in relation to everything else from that particular year.

My preference would have been to arrange the years progressing from left to right since that is how I preattentively expected them to appear, but its really not a big issue and they are labeled clearly enough.

Very nice work, I look forward to seeing what you produce for the next one!

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