I really dislike stacked bar charts… Let’s see a new bad example.

Steve Rubel shares with us how he spent his time online (update: page no longer available) over the last two weeks. He uses the Firefox add-on PageAddict to monitor the time. He writes:

As you can see almost all of my time online is work related. Still I can see that I need to shrink my social network usage a little bit and increase my time with documents, web applications while also keeping RSS contained. I also need to go through the undefined section to see if there are big groups of sites that can be tagged.

I would say that it is hard to see what Steve Rubel wants us to see. It is not his fault, of course, he is just pasting a chart from the application. I do see something interesting: since he spends “the vast majority of

[his] computing time” using Firefox (let’s say 80%) he’s using his computer around 4.5 hours a day only. That’s nice… šŸ™‚

If I wanted to visually track my time online (I should…) these are some of the options I’d like to have:

  • Color-code work/non-work related categories;
  • Label the x axis with dates, not “days ago”;
  • Remove non-working days;
  • Use small-multiples to track each category;
  • Use weeks instead of days;
  • Annotate outliers;
  • Show planned vs. actual time spending;
  • Minimize the “undefined” category;

I’m installing the add-on. Hope I can have an interesting dataset to share by the end of October.

Do you use these tools? Do you like their reporting functionalities?