Data Viz Done Right

July 21, 2016

Downloads vs. Vizzes - Why aren’t people sharing their Makeover Monday creations?

15 comments

A couple weeks ago, I started using a shortlink service for the links to the Makeover Monday data sets. Each week I publish both a flat file (Excel or CSV) and a Tableau Extract. When Andy and I started this, we figured a TDE would be the easiest way for people to start. But I was wrong…well, that’s assuming the last 2 weeks are representative of every week.


To our surprise, people are using the Excel files at about a 2-to-1 rate to the TDE. That was surprising enough; I just assumed people would use the TDE because it’s simpler.

And look at those download numbers! 285 people downloaded the week 28 data and 219 have downloaded week 29 (as of this writing). I combined that with the number of vizzes uploaded to Twitter for those weeks and tagged #MakeoverMonday.


Yes, you’re seeing the same thing I am. We are getting an incredible number of submissions, but pretty small compared to the number of downloads. To give the situation a bit more context, consider this visualisation:


I’m curious. Who are these people that are downloading the data, yet not sharing their work? Do you have any ideas as to why aren’t they sharing their work? I don’t have the answer. I’m hoping you, the Community, can help explain this. What can we do to encourage more people to share their work? Are we doing anything that may be putting them off?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you!

15 comments :

  1. I have one thought about this...
    Even though I am generally confident in my abilities as a programmer and technologist, it can be pretty intimidating to submit something I create to someone who regularly points out the flaws in other people's work. Even if it's graciously done, it's still an emotional risk for me as the creator. I'd love to say that I can take constructive feedback about my work without fear or disappointment, but I wouldn't be completely honest if I did.
    Perhaps it's because the term "constructive" is based on the amount of trust I have in the one providing feedback. If I trust that person, I'm more able to receive the feedback as a positive, versus something I'd receive from a stranger.
    Just my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback Daniel! I hope you don't see my way as a reflection of the people creating the vizzes. I like to point out both the things that work and the things that don't work as a way of learning. Do you feel that I do this in an intimidating, non-constructive way?

      Delete
    2. After re-reading my comment I can see how it may come across as negative about you - that was not my intent, so please forgive me. I learn a great deal from your blogs, and follow them regularly. I think you do a good job pointing out both sides with MM.
      Both "Unknown" and Mike Moore explained it better than my poor attempt: emotional risk. It's easier for me to share with a select group of known, trusted people, rather than "the great wide open" as "Unknown" put it.
      But that shouldn't stop me, should it? :-)

      Delete
  2. Some of these may be well-intentioned downloads by people who plan to do a viz, but then don't finish or get otherwise sidetracked (just speaking for myself). I think there is also the emotional risk of releasing your work to the great wide open.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I wonder if folks are worried about copying other people's ideas. That has happened to me. I have had an idea or even worked through a makeover and then I see someone else has taken nearly the same approach so I haven't shared. I'm starting to get over that though mainly by forcing myself not to look at anyone else's work before I post.

    This is really a great question. I get so many ideas that I use in my job from those that do share their work. I've basically told myself that it is not fair for me to take ideas from this great #makeover project and not contribute back with my ideas. I hope everyone thinks about that. You never know what idea you might put out there that will help someone else. And we can't be afraid of criticism either because that will make you better too. I made mistakes in the Orlando makeover but you reworked it Andy and I learned from that. I didn't want look dumb in from of people I respect but making that public mistake helped me learn something that I might not have learned otherwise. And I'd rather make the mistake here than in a report that goes to a senior exec at my job.

    Plus I think it should be stressed that the Tableau community does not harshly critique others work. I have always found feedback to be constructive and helpful. It's not like Stephen Few is out here looking at our stuff. Now that guy can hurt your feelings :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mike. Thanks for the detailed feedback! A great approach is to not look at other people's work as you suggested. And I totally agree that every contribution to the community helps. You never know when something you create will be that little spark someone needed or give them that nudge to make something they've created a bit better. Visualisations are never "done", we merely do the best we can with the knowledge, time, and resources available to us.

      Delete
  4. I stopped sharing them as I never feel they are 'ready.' When I compare what I have done to the public submissions I feel woefully non-creative, and worry my work would be a great candidate for a makeover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Greg! I understand what you mean. I never feel like any of my work is "ready" it's just good enough at that time. Have you had a look through the visualisations people submit? Many of them are non-creative. Don't let the few people that create incredible things and spend a lot of time on it keep you from posting. They likely have a lot more experience. I hope that you see this as a way to learn and an environment that encourages you to share. I know I've never criticized a viz someone submitted for MM. That would only deter participation.

      Delete
  5. I haven't downloaded any lately, but in the past my brain always thought it was a good idea to download and give it the 'ol college try. However, most of the time I didn't have the time to set aside for the necessary creativity. The couple of times I did actually go for it, I didn't feel that the viz was that compelling so I would give up mid-stream.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Two reasons for me, I stopped sharing when I noticed my twitter post on Feb 21, which has the correct # since I can click on it and it goes to #makeovermonday, is not actually in the list. I guess I am twitter challenged. Second reason is that I noticed so many posts early on were all about the cool graphics being used and not so much about the charts themselves. So now I download the data every week, play around a little, then look to see what others have done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam. I apologize for not catching your viz. Can you tag me in it so I see it? I've had problems with Twitter not showing me everything. And thanks for the feedback. Like Andy, I plan to revert to the principles of MM for the foreseeable future: quick and simple. Thanks of reigning us in!

      Delete
    2. Looks like you got it. I'm still Twitter challenged though, lol.

      Delete
  7. Thank you all for your excellent comments. My latest MakeoverMonday is a response to these valid criticisms. Let me know what you think: http://gravyanecdote.com/blog/makeovermonday/makeovermonday-the-bermuda-population/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your 20 mins spent on this might have resulted in one of your best pieces yet. I love it! I haven't started on this week yet, but when I do tomorrow, I plan to follow your lead.

      Delete
  8. I realize this is a Tableau-centric site, but TDEs are closed data sources, so it shouldn't be surprising that non-Tableau users are grabbing a file in a more open format.

    ReplyDelete