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Jorge Camoes

I am not sure if you should use a line chart to display nominal data. Also, it is not easy to identify each series.

And there is (again) the "fun factor". Should be possible to have a "fun" chart without compromising the message.

Jon Peltier

As Jorge points out, a line chart is inappropriate, since it implies some kind of sequential relationship between adjacent categories. A bar or column would be better. My first impulse is to make a clustered bar, probably with startup as category and purpose as series, but seeing the initial attempt may reverse startup and purpose.

In fact, a simple table would be sufficient for this data, although it gets messy if you want to display percentages and actual numbers.

And I'll point out that it's very difficult to mix "fun" with information display. "Fun" seems to include 3D effects. clip art, outrageous colors, and dazzling effects.

John Johnson

I'd be partial to a stacked bar chart with application as the bottom bar (so its bottom edge remains consistent for comparability -- and getting the main message across).

Bernard Lebelle

I agree with Jorge & Jon about the inconvience of the line chart. I had a go at a mekko chart wich partly helps in taking into consideration the difference of scale in terms of total spent between the 4 companies. Lacking a good Mekko tool to create a good-looking graphic though.


Line chart? for nominal data? The horror!!!

Surely, this was just done to see if any of us were awake!


The revulsion to the line chart is unexpected. This construct is used frequently by statisticians, usually called a "profile plot". I'll put my thoughts in a follow-up post.


I used to go along with the idea that lines have to be about time series or some other ordinal scale, but seeing the utility of "parallel coordinates" displays cured me.

Hadley Wickham

Bernard: you might have more luck finding software to produce "mekko" charts if you look for their proper name (rather than a named coined by a company trying to sell them) - mosaic plots. R has a number of packages that produce mosiac plots, and there are a few standalone programmes too - mondrian is written in java and fairly easy to use.

Xan Gregg

I was thinking of a 2D mosiac plot, too, when I first saw these pie charts. Here's one for the charts featured here:




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