Data Viz Done Right

February 14, 2018

Workout Wednesday: MAX and MIN Sales by Month

For this week's Workout Wednesday, Rody challenged us to create a highlight table that:

  1. Only highlights the max and min per month
  2. Include the grand total (which is also highlighted)
  3. Resizes the rows based on the number of rows displayed

I'd done something very similar to this before when teaching in The Data School, so I got it sorted out fairly quickly. The trickiest bit was getting the nulls to display a value in the proper position. I took a different approach to Rody, I think his is simpler. I also took a different approach to the coloring; I went the discrete route and he went with continuous.

I really love how many way there are to tackle the same problem in Tableau. Click on the image for the interactive version.

February 11, 2018

Makeover Monday: The Winter Olympics

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As the Winter Olympics started a few days ago, Rody Zakovich offered up his great Winter Olympics viz for a makeover. It can often be tough to makeover an already good viz, but I gave it a go anyway. Here's Rody's viz:

What works well?

  • Simple title and subtitle
  • Noting when he combined countries
  • Simple filtering
  • Nice small multiples design
  • Including summaries under each country name
  • Sorting the countries from most medals to least
  • Including blocks for each medal won

What could be improved?

  • Right-align the filter titles so they are next to the filter itself.
  • I'd prefer the gold medals at the bottom and bronze on top.
  • Provide an option to look at the top N countries so that you can see it one screen.
  • The x-axis doesn't make sense. If it's supposed to represent a year, why does it start at zero and end at 25?

What did I do?

  • Focused the visualisation on the cumulative medals won by the top 5 countries based on the filters; I did this by creating stepped lines based on Rody's tutorial.
  • Made the x-axis represent the number of years since a country first participated in the games; this makes comparing the cumulative medals easier. In other words, it's easier to see which country won medals the fastest.
  • Place the filter titles above each filter
  • Moved the notes to the bottom, out of the way
  • Simplified the tooltips

Thanks Rody! You're a good sport!

February 8, 2018

Workout Wednesday: Regional Sales Across the Product Hierarchy

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For week 6, Luke challenged us to build a connected dot plot. Get the requirements here. For me, it was all pretty straightforward except for the row banding. That was a pain in the ass and took some trial and error to get it just right. I also learned a nice little hack to emulate row borders.

February 5, 2018

Makeover Monday: Did the rise of Latino players signal the decline of African American players?

This week marks a month long partnership that Tableau has asked us to kick off for Black History Month. To start the month, Eva posted this visualization from about the breakdown of demographics in Major League Baseball since the year before Jackie Robinson's debut in 1947 (he was the first African American to play in MLB, also known as the person who broke the "color barrier").

What works well?

  • The x-axis is labeled every 10 years starting with the first year in the data set. This works well since there are 70 years in the data set.
  • Labeling the y-axis for every 20% keeps that axis from getting too cluttered.
  • The title is straight to the point.
  • Placing the legend in the middle of the graph allows the chart to use the entire space.
  • Stacking "White" on the bottom is a good choice since it's always the largest segment.

What could be improved?

  • As it's stacked bars, it's harder than necessary to determine the percentage that Black and Latino comprise since their position is influenced by the colors below them.
  • The bars appear to be of differing widths and that makes it look a bit blurry to me.
  • An area chart would be much easier to understand.
  • Consider more distinct color choices, particularly for White and Black.
  • The visualization doesn't flow well with the accompanying story, which was about the increase in blacks and the more recent decrease. There's no indicator to the audience that this is what the chart is about.

What did I do?

I started by exploring the data and looking for a more interesting story. Was there a reason or cause for the recent decline of blacks in MLB? Is this the same for other minorities? How does WAR come into play, if at all? All of these questions are super simple to answer with Tableau's ability to support the way your brain thinks.

In the end, the most interesting story I found was the relationship between the decline of African Americans plays and the rise of Latino players. So my viz focusses on that.