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July 25, 2015

Dear Data Two | Week 10: To-Do Lists

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The timing of the topic for week 10, To-Do Lists, couldn’t have been more perfect. June 8-14 was the last week in our house in California before our big move across the pond. Needless to say, there was lots to do and lots of lists floating around the house, my wife’s head, and my head.

I decided to take a look at the specific activities I was performing. I ended up grouping them in more general categories to improve the visualisation; I prefer a bit more simplicity in my life as well as my vizzes. I used several methods for data collection this week: Swarm, Moves, Fitbit, Runkeeper, IFTTT, Sunrise Calendar. From there, I looked at a few specific categories:

  1. Overall rate of tracking - I was curious to see how much of my time I was actually able to account for.
  2. Relocation - I knew I was blowing off packing and the like, mostly because I hate it. The data proved this out.
  3. Sleep - Was the way I was feeling overall possibly due to a lack of sleep? I probably should have looked at sleep quality as well, but I didn’t include that data.
  4. Family time - Was I spending enough time with my family? This is always a huge priorty for me.
  5. Running - I was smack in the middle of marathon training. Was I completing my training? Was that impacting anything else?
  6. Work - Tom knew I wouldn’t be working much this week, but would I get ANY work done? 

Given this set of goals, I explored the data in Tableau and created a few key stories. The last two tab in the story are images of the postcard.

July 21, 2015

Tableau Tip Tuesday: Create Actionable Sparklines

I love sparklines! I think they're a highly underutilized chart type for showing lots of information in a tiny space. But from what I've seen through my years is that people simply create little line charts with no context or call to action.

So this week, I wanted to introduce you to a simple way to create sparkline indicators. Basically all I'm doing is adding a dot onto the end of the sparkline and color-coding it for a call to action.

For more information, here's a blog post I wrote in 2013 for how to create these as well, but I think the video below is simpler.

July 20, 2015

Makeover Monday: American Teens Are Abandoning TV in Droves

Business Insider UK posted this simple chart a couple weeks ago about the change in the amount of time Americans aged 12-17 are spending watching TV.

What struck me most about this choice of chart is how difficult it is to see the trend. Because of its design, your eyes have to move from quarter to quarter, match up the bar colors, then once you hit Q4, go all the way back to the left. This is way too much work for the reader. On top of that, you have to calculate the rate of change in your head.

I created this simple version, very much in the spirit of what I leared at one of Cole Nussbaumer’s workshops.

What I’ve done is:

  1. Visualize the entire time period as one continuous line
  2. Highlight the beginning and end of the time period
  3. Include the rate of change from the start to the end

This view makes the story much, much simpler to see and adds the necessary context. You can download the data here and the Tableau workbook here.

July 17, 2015

Dear Data Two | Week 9: Jeff & Andy

Still playing catch up on Dear Data Two. The topic for week 9 was Jeff & Andy. about a topic with unlimited possibilities! Immediately I thought about looking at the connections that we have in common across the major social networks.

I manually created a spreadsheet of our total connections each and our connections in common. I then created random points on a graph in order to display them as a hub & spoke diagram. I referred back to my own blog post for help in shaping the data correctly. This was a bit trickier, though, as I wanted to show Jeff on the left, our common connections in the middle, and my connections on the right. You can download the Excel spreadsheet here.

Some explanations about the viz:

  1. You can click on any combination of things in the bar chart to update the network diagrams.
  2. LinkedIn only shows me when we hit 500 connections, so I totally made up the total connections.
  3. I chose blue for me because it's my favorite colour and red for Jeffrey because he lives in Cincinnati and that's the home of the Reds.

July 14, 2015

Dear Data Two | Week 8: Instagram Addiction

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First, my apoloigies to Jeffrey for being so tardy getting him postcards. Getting my family moved to London and starting the Data School have gotten in the way. Kudos to him for keeping on top of this project, which has been taking way more of my time than I would have ever anticipated.

Week 8 was supposed to cover the period from May 25-31, but my data collection had a major fail. What I’ve done instead was use IFTTT to capture all pictures that I like on Instagram and log them to a Google Sheet. Note that IFTTT records the date that the picture was taken, not the date that I liked the photo, so the dataset reflects photo dates. Good enough for me!

I then exported the data from Google Sheets into Excel and did some date manipulation before importing the data into Tableau. Once I had the data in Tableau, I began to explore the data to see if any patterns emerged, focusing primarily on whether I liked running or non-running pictures the most. The story points below reflect my thought process. Enjoy!

Tableau Tip Tuesday: Tips & Tricks from the Zen Master Panel at #DATA15

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Last week at the Tableau conference in London, I had the pleasure of sitting on a Zen Master panel with Craig Bloodworth and Matt Francis. This was a really fun session in that the audience threw some questions at us and they also picked random tips and tricks from a hat they were passing around. We had to demo these tips/tricks as fast as we could.

I showed them again on Friday during the Data School weekly presentations, but apparently there were actually some people that didn’t watch. So I recorded them again this morning for this week’s blog post. Enjoy!

July 13, 2015

Makeover Monday: Salvaging the DATAVERSITY 3D Exploding Pie

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Reader Tim Messar sent me the following tweet this morning, clearly a desperate plea for a makeover:

Tim linked to this tweet from Kirk Borne promoting an exploding 3D pie chart.

My first thought was back to the great Darkhorse Analytics post entitled “Salvaging the Pie”. I thought I’d follow a similar process with a combination of Excel and Tableau. I started by reproducing the 3D pie chart in Excel, which looked remarkably like the original, including the default colors. Follow through the story points for the step-by-step process of the makeover.

July 2, 2015

Tableau On Tour London - My Agenda & Other Happenings

Tableau On Tour comes to London next week. This will be my first conference as a partner, so I’m interested to see how the experience is different. You’ll likely be able to find me hanging around The Information Lab booth, which you won’t be able to miss in all of its orangeness.

First, I know I won’t be able to compete in the Information Lab Speed Challenge.

But you can, and you can win a drone. This year’s challenge include a bit of Alteryx as well. If you’re not an Alteryx user yet, ask us for help. Don’t worry, the Alteryx piece will be simple enough for anyone to follow along, even a brand new user.

I’m very excited to be hosting a breakfast Wednesday morning with founder, boss and friend Tom Brown. We’re going to be talking about the Data School and how the experts we’re building will be instrumental in the world of data analytics. If you think you’re company would like to take on one of these consultants for a 6-month engagement after their training is complete or if you’d like to have the School do a 1-week project for free with your company’s data, email me and I’ll get you into the breakfast. Trust me, this isn’t a group of talent you want to miss out on.

The consultants at the School will be very visible throughout the conference. If you see one of them, stop them and ask how things are going. Ask them to show you what they’re working on. Find out how much they’ve learned in only two weeks of training.

Lastly, I thought I’d share my agenda. I’m hoping I get to go to this many sessions, but I’m fairly sure things will change. I’d always rather talk shop in the hallways than go to sessions. These types of conversations are what the Tableau community and Tableau conferences are all about; these are how you get value from them.

See you at The Brewery Monday!