Data Viz Done Right

December 23, 2018

Makeover Monday: Spending on Christmas Gifts in America

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We've done it! Another year in the books for Makeover Monday, the most fun project I've been a part of and the largest in the Tableau community (perhaps in data viz as well??). From year one with Andy Cotgreave, to years two and three with Eva Murray, to Makeover Monday the Book, this has been an incredible journey.

I believe Charlie Hutcheson is the only community member to complete all 156 weeks, though Simona Loffredo has only a couple of weeks to catch up on before the end of the year to join Charlie (and me) in the 100% club. As of this writing, Charlie has 307 vizzes on his Tableau Public profile, while Simona has 197. That's an incredible achievement and a testament to their dedication to improve week by week.

It's nearly Christmas Day, so Eva picked a Christmas-themed data set. Let's have a look at the viz:

Original viz by Statista

What works well?

  • It's a line chart based on time, so it's easy to understand what it's telling us.
  • Using one color
  • I kind of like the banding for every other year.
  • Good axis title for the measure

What could be improved?

  • Remove all of the numbers except the first and last years.
  • Add a title
  • Add the data source; surely Statista didn't come up with the data themselves. 
  • Remove the paywall so we can see information about the source and the publisher.
  • Remove the paywall for downloading the data. All you really need to do is type the numbers into Excel anyway.
  • Is there any insight?

What I did

  • Create something simple
  • Supplement with additional data to see if it can add any context. 
  • Looked at year-over-year change
  • Compare the statistics to look for relationships

I found absolutely no relationships between the average spending data and the other metrics. You might see that as a waste of time, but for me, that's part of the analytical process. Just because you don't find something, that doesn't mean the analysis is wasted. It means you have confirmed there is no relationship.

With that, here's my final Makeover Monday for 2018, focusing on the year-over-year change to highlight the Great Recession.

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