Monday Maths: Graphical Fun

As promised, this week I’m going to see if I can make the results of last week’s survey a little more fun than just a list of numbers.

The Survey

I should point out at this point that my sample size is not huge.  Although, considering my number of followers, I’ve got a reasonable conversion ratio.  About 8.5% of my followers answered the questions, which is considerably higher than many marketing companies get.


Doughnut charts are like pie charts, but have a hole in the middle.  What’s the point of this?  Well, for one question like this not much, but later on I’ll show you something kind of fun.

It turns out that my sample have a variety of reading methods – but when you combine them into “Website” and “Some kind of summary/aggregator feed”, you see that most people don’t actually make it to the website.

Which is a shame, because I had a lot of fun choosing the photo in the bar on the right.


Bar charts and column charts are very similar.  The difference mostly lies in what you are presenting.

My labels for the bars in the graph above are very long.  If I used a column chart I would have to rotate them, or risk it looking cluttered.

Negative values mostly work better in columns, because “down is bad” is easier to get your head round than “left is bad”.


Well… at least nobody hates it.  Given that most people read by email or RSS feed, I shouldn’t be surprised that they aren’t very opinionated.


What’s interesting about this result is that “New to Guiding: How to Get a Brownie Name” is the post which has had, consistently, two or three views every day since it was published.

None of my other posts have that kind of staying power, and yet everyone likes hearing stories.

Maybe it’s because the pictures are more fun.


The cone graph.  Winner of the Bad Graph Contest.  I would not use this graph for anything serious.

But, I can see a use for it.

It emphasises the low numbers much more than the high numbers, and so I could see it being used if people were trying to hide bad news.

“Look!  We’ve only lost this much business to our competitors this week!”

More Graphs

Now, I said I would tell you some fun things about doughnuts.  Doughnuts are good for comparing things that have more than one series, like this:



This is where people get to my blog from, according to WordPress.  You can see straight away that in total I’ve got many more views from twitter than I have recently – this I suspect is due to the two or three times I was retweeted by Girlguiding!

Is the graph any more clear than a stacked bar chart?



Well, no, not really.  But I think it’s prettier.

Do you have a favourite graph?


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