Data Viz Done Right

August 16, 2017

Workout Wednesday: How has your home price changed?

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Inspiration for this week's Workout Wednesday comes from this great post by Curtis Harris. Of course with this being Workout Wednesday, I've added a few twists. In all, this took me about 45 min.

First, you can find the housing index data here. You will need to do some minor data prep. Curtis has some hints in his post if you get stuck.


  1. The data is displayed as the monthly percent change in the house price index based on the date chosen above the chart.
  2. The State selected must be highlighted in the greenish color (#3B6F84).
  3. The US average must be highlighted in black.
  4. The most recent value should be shown on the end of the selected State and the US average.
  5. All States must be in the view. All States that are NOT selected should be thin and grey.
  6. Include a reference line for the month selected and include a dot at that point.
  7. Match all of my titles and formatting. Note that the chart title is dynamic.
  8. Match my axes.
  9. Match the footer (except replace my name with yours).
  10. Be sure to tag Curtis (@Harris7Curtis) so he gets credit when you publish it to Twitter.

Good luck!!

August 15, 2017

Tableau Tip Tuesday: How to Create a Trend Line for a Single Dimension Member

This week's tip comes from Eva's Makeover Monday week 33 in which she created a trend line for a single member of a dimension. She asked me how to do this and encouraged me to share it with all of you as well.


August 13, 2017

Makeover Monday: How Has the Number of Births Changed Since Your Baby Was Born?

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If this data set and viz look familiar, it's because I highlighted it a few weeks ago on DataVizDoneRight and it was also the source for Workout Wednesday Week 31.

What works well?

  • Incredible interactivity
  • Amazing storytelling as your scroll down the page
  • Great use of minimal colors for highlighting
  • Great use of context
  • Nice example of stepped lines
  • Including a link to the source
  • Good placement of the filters at the top to encourage the user to use them first
  • Including event icons which update the viz based on the year you're viewing
  • Great annotations

What could be improved?

  • Could use a more impactful title

This is such an amazing viz and a pretty interesting data set. I'm curious to see what else the Makeover Monday community can come up with.

My Viz

I also recently highlighted a viz by Curtis Harris (my review / his viz) that I have been wanting to try to recreate. While this data set isn't the same, it's the technique and design by Curtis that I wanted to mimic. Thanks Curtis for the inspiration!

With that, here's my Makeover Monday week 33, in which I look at the number of babies born by State since your baby was born.

August 9, 2017

Workout Wednesday: Continuous Dates are Tricky

Emma sure can be devious! Don't let that smile of hers trick you. Today her challenge was to create this chart:

Her requirements are pretty straightforward. I was able to get everything quickly with the exception of the month labels on the x-axis.


To do the line chart, I created a Day of Year calc and plotted that on the x-axis. Notice this results in the day number on the scale.


To format the scale, I first changed the number format to mmm to give me month abbreviations. That gets me close, but some months are missing and the months are labeled at the middle of the month whereas Emma's are labeled at the start of the month.


I sent Emma a message with a few questions, basically because I was stuck. All she said was:
You'll have to re-think the date you have on the x-axis so you can also colour by year.

What does that even mean? I'm beginning to get a sense for the sort of torture I put people through. Ok, so I somehow need to get my x-axis to act like a date, yet still be able to show every day for each year in the view. I also need it to only be month and day. Hmmm: Hey Google, can you help?

Yes indeed! I searched for "tableau month and day of year" and the second search result took me to the Forums which had exactly the question I was asking. The brilliant Jonathan Drummey came up with this formula:


Sweet! All I needed to do was swap out [Date] for [Order Date] and I was good to go. Now I have the exact result I needed.

Awesome challenge! I love learning something new! Here's my final product.

August 7, 2017

Makeover Monday: How has access to toilets changed for girls in India?

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Eva picked quite an interesting and important topic this week for Makeover Monday week 32 - access to toilets for school girls in India. Coming from a western country, girls and boys have always had equivalent access to restroom facilities, so the topic itself has been a good learning experience for me. I hope this week the Community can make some really impactful vizzes.

Let's have a look at the original:

What works well?

  • The filled map helps you easily identify which States fall into which categories.
  • The colors work well together.

What could be improved?

  • The title doesn't make sense. What does access over sanitation mean?
  • Sanitation is spelled wrong in the title.
  • The legend is cut off.
  • Making comparisons across the maps is nearly impossible.
  • Making comparisons across years IS impossible.
  • There's a lack of explanation as to what the data means.
  • There's a lack of insight.
  • Labelling each State makes the maps look very cluttered.
  • There's no call to action.

My Goals

  • Provide insight as to which States have gotten better
  • Use a more meaningful metric rather than separating the two metrics
  • Simplify and declutter the visualisation
  • Highlight what's important
  • Emphasize the inequality of access to toilets for girls

With those goals in mind, here's my Makeover Monday week 32.

August 2, 2017

Workout Wednesday: The Timing of Baby Making

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WARNING: This weeks workout won't be as easy as it may look. If you're anything like me, by the end you'll be saying stepped lines can't come into Tableau soon enough! It's good practice to know how to actually make this chart without that feature though. Anyone know when stepped lines are actually coming BTW?

This data set first caught my eye a few weeks ago and I highlighted it on my Data Viz Done Right site. Your task this week it to more or less replicate the stepped line chart in Tableau as I've done. Here are the requirements:

  1. Create the stepped line chart (HINT: I didn't do this only with lines).
  2. Match the dynamically updating title. It changed when you pick a single county vs. all counties.
  3. Each stepped line represents a year.
  4. Allow the user to pick a year to highlight in black. All others should be grey.
  5. Match my tooltip (easy peasy).
  6. Label only the end of the line that is highlighted.
  7. Match my axis lines.
  8. Match the month formatting.
  9. Final dashboard should be 800x500 and should be all tiled (no floating elements)
  10. Optional: Match my font throughout (Avenir)

If I missed anything, let me know and I'll update the requirements. This will likely be a fiddly little beast. Download the data here. Leave a comment when you finish and/or tag @VizWizBI and @EmmaWhyte on Twitter with a picture and a link.

Good luck! 

July 31, 2017

Makeover Monday: The 28th SEA Games

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I'm currently on holiday in Tuscany, Italy, so please excuse my brevity this week. In fact, I'm going to admit that I cheated. I reused a viz I did for Makeover Monday last year. I liked it then, I like it now. I don't see any harm in doing this when pressed for time.

Let's have a look at the original viz:

What works well?

  • The different backgrounds for the sections help split apart the viz and inform you that they are to be read independently.
  • It's very informative about the games overall.

What could be improved?

  • The parts are all disjointed.
  • There's no overall story.
  • When I ask "so what?", I can't answer it.

Again, sorry for the brevity this week; I really need to be spending time with my family. Here's my Makeover Monday submission.

July 26, 2017

Workout Wednesday: Order Analysis with LODs

Pretty straight forward Workout Wednesday this week. Here are Emma's requirements:

  • The first chart should could the number of customers by the number of orders they have made.
  • The first chart should have its bars coloured blue for 10 orders and above.
  • The title and tooltip should match as well. The title and tooltip changes as you select a Region.
  • The bottom chart (Top 10 products) should be filtered by the Region also. The top 10 products should change depending on the Region you select.
  • When you click on a bar in the top chart it should also filter the top 10 products.
  • The title and tooltip on the second chart should also change when you select a Region.

For the first chart, I used a FIXED LOD to count the number of orders per customer. I then created a parameter for selecting the region. To ensure my FIXED LOD would use the filter I built off the parameter, I made sure to put it into context.

But I don't want to give away all the hints. Give it a go yourself. You can download the data here. Click on the image below for the interactive version.

July 25, 2017

Tableau Tip Tuesday: Using Alteryx, Mapbox & Tableau to Map Every Primary & Secondary Road in the US

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Tableau 10.4 brings us support for linear geometry shapefiles. In this week's tip, I demonstrate how to create a map of all primary and secondary roads in the US by combining them in Alteryx and visualising them in Tableau. I also use a solid black US map with transparent oceans created in Mapbox for a better map experience.

Download the workbook I created to have a play yourself. Obviously this requires Tableau 10.4. Once Tableau Public is running 10.4, I'll upload it there as well.

In the video, you'll notice I used the Generalize tool in Alteryx. This took the file size from 500MB to 33MB, merely by aggregating up to 1 mile. Pretty sweet! Thanks to Chris Love for the tip!

Here's the how-to video. Enjoy!

July 24, 2017

Makeover Monday: Do you know how much water it takes to produce the animal products we eat?

Pretty straightforward Makeover Monday for me this week. Before we get to it, let's have a quick review of the original viz.

What works well?

  • Good title and subtitle
  • Sorting the products makes the ranking obvious
  • Including the label at the end since the axis is not displayed
  • Including the source of the data

What could be improved?

  • Using partial icons can be misleading; a simple bar chart would be more accurate
  • Shading every other row isn't necessary
  • Icons for each food are distracting
  • The scale is unnecessary decoration.
  • The story in the data, which is referenced in the article, is not alluded to in the viz.

My goals

  • Make a simple bar chart
  • Use highlighting for the animal products
  • Put the title in the form of a question that refers back to the article

With those goals in mind, here's my Makeover Monday week 30.