Donut charts are a favorite chart type for many Grow users. Donut charts are especially useful when displaying a relative portion of a class or grouping to a whole. In this article we will provide an overview of when and how to use Donut charts to effectively represent your data.
Donut charts provide a simple way to show how a group or class compares to the whole, or the Donut.
For example, you could use a Donut chart to track see which product is bringing in the most revenue, or, if you are trying to optimize your website, you could see which device most customers use when looking at your website. While Donut charts are pretty straight forward and popular they do have a few drawbacks.
Donut charts are unable to display changes in data over time. For example, if you needed to know what product brought in the most revenue each month, you would be better off using a Stacked Column Chart or Line Chart.
Additionally, Donut charts are unable to easily distinguish small variations between classes of data. For example, if you have two products that perform almost equally at 30% and 31% of your total revenue, it is difficult to distinguish the area difference between the two and you may be better off using a Column or Bar chart.
Building a Donut Chart
The most important first step in creating any chart is to have your data prepped and ready to go.
When you are ready to start charting switch the Metric Builder into Chart mode by select the Chart tab on the top of your screen. On the right hand side you will see a drop down menu displaying the current selected chart type, which is by default a column chart. Once selected you will see all chart types along with a visual representation of each. Select the Donut chart in the Other section.
Once you have your chart selected you are able to select your Data Series and Labels.
It is important you do not select your data series first then select your chart type, as some chart types are not compatible with each other and you may lose your selections.
Now that you have selected your Data Series and your Labels you can further customize your Donut chart by selecting Display. We recommend adding a Legend to your chart to help users interpret the data. Additionally, you can change the color, add labels and format your numbers by selecting the Data Series dropdown.
Display Chart Labels and the Legend
We highly recommend displaying chart labels and the legend on most Donut charts. Under the Data Series menu display the Label and the Percentage and under the Display menu select Values for the Legend (or vice versa). This provides the most data in one graphic, and is easy to understand.
We recommend sorting your data largest to smallest, as this makes it easy for any user to see what class represents a larger portion of the whole.
Six or Less Segments
If your Donut chart segments are looking a little thin, or the chart is too busy it may be better to switch to a different chart type. Donut charts have a difficult time displaying more than 6-10 groupings effectively. Some clients choose to display a Top 5 or Top 10 as a way to track their top classes.
Pie vs Donut Chart
In Grow the Donut and Pie charts work the same way, the Donut chart just removes the center. This can provide a more clean looking display, but removing the center does removes the users ability to compare the angles of the pie chart.