June 30, 2014
Makeover Monday: How Americans Spend Their Online Time
Americans , bar chart , Business Insider , Chart of the Day , circles , Makeover Monday , online , order , tableau , time spent
Time spent online - we all do a LOT of it. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, ESPN, or any other site, the data shows that the average American spends a LOT of time online. Business Insider took a look at this recently with this circular chart:
The content of this slide is quite interesting, but their approach for visualizing it could be better. I feel like they went after cute instead of simple.
In his article "Our Irresistible Fascination with All Things Circular", Stephen Few talks about how hard it is to make comparisons with circles. Many designers use the diameter of circles to distinguish size. It's hard to tell precisely if Business Insider made this mistake, which in itself is a problem. If I can't easily tell that the 19 for Online Games is just over half of Social Networks, then I'm having to do too much work.
In addition, they have plotted the circles on two rows. Comparing any two of these circles that are not directly adjacent to each other is too hard.
I would have created a simple bar chart instead.
I've made a two notable changes:
- I converted the circles to bars, making comparisons much easier.
- I added the % of total time spent online to the end of the bars to give additional context.