As part of a new series on the Bunker Blog, Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) will feature some select charts and graphs that we come across in our daily routines. Data visualization is one of our strong interests here on the RMS Analytics team and we take a lot of pride in making our graphs and charts visually appealing, easy to understand, and designed to drive home key points. Every now and again we will run across charts and graphs that are equivalent to a Graph or Chart Fail. We most commonly come across these charts and graphs through secondary research online.

We have reconstructed these graphing disasters and generalized the titles and labels to protect the innocent (or the guilty depending on how you look at it).

Market Research Pie ChartThere are a few reasons that we think this qualifies as a graphing disaster. First, there are just way too many categories/slices in this pie chart.  We try to limit our pie charts to three or four slices at the max, if you have a need for more than three or four, you may want to think about using a bar chart or grouping the smaller percentage categories into ‘other.’ Subsequently, the color choices for the chart seem to be all over the board because of the number of categories.  The three 0% slices for ‘Radio,’ ‘Email,’ and ‘Facebook’ are needless. There is too much information displayed here and clearly the pie chart is not the best option. Another minor tip would be to use white font as labels for the darker portions of the pie chart. I’m also not quite sure what the 3D effect adds to the viewer’s experience either. On the positive side, at least the aggregate adds to 100%, something we’ve seen other pie charts unable to accomplish.

What is the key point from this chart for your client? For instance, if the business spent $100,000 on a series of newspaper advertisements and PR activities to generate newspaper stories as means to build awareness and sign-up, it would appear the campaign did not do very well (as only 3% mentioned those sources combined). Or another key takeaway could be that a total of 60% of respondents stated that either a friend or family member were the motivator to sign-up – so it appears that grass-roots campaigns contribute to the majority of sign-ups.

Let us know what you think of our first graphic disaster in the comment section below. We’d welcome your opinion(s)!