« Fixing the visual versus fixing the story | Main | A startling chart about income inequality, with interpretative difficulties »


Soren Messner-Zidell

I'm really struggling to find practical value in these 'polar diagrams'. Even Nightingale's are really cool, but seem really difficult to comprehend. They are basically a more exciting radar chart, correct? I've noticed a lot of infographic designers are using these, and every time i see them the data is wildly distorted. Is there really ever a time when a polar diagram is appropriate? I'd love an example. Thanks!


Soren: Someone asked this same question at a seminar I gave recently. While the Nightingale chart is a classic, I don't use it. As statisticians, we like people to know that the celebrity Nightingale was a statistician, and female too.


Yes, it's a classic.

A Model-T is a classic too. But we don't build cars that way anymore, and for good reasons. :)

Meta Brown

I spotted this chart on my way to lead one of my Storytelling for Data Analyst workshops, and gave it to a student to evaluate during one of the exercises. To my surprise, the student didn't even notice the chart. His comments were all about the text.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


Link to Principal Analytics Prep

See our curriculum, instructors. Apply.
Marketing analytics and data visualization expert. Author and Speaker. Currently at Columbia. See my full bio.

Book Blog

Link to junkcharts

Graphics design by Amanda Lee

The Read

Good Books

Keep in Touch

follow me on Twitter