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March 27, 2017

Makeover Monday: The Secret of Success

For Makeover Monday week 13, we looked at a visualisation that I found on that I use in the Data School's first data viz training class where we look at critically evaluating visualisations.

Andy Cotgreave messaged Eva and me about this particular viz and found a great article that does an excellent in-depth review of this particular piece. Reading the article helped reassure the thoughts that I've had about this chart over the years.

What works well?
  • Engaging design
  • Clear labels on the values
  • Legend matches the shape of each amoeba
  • Everything is scaled in proportion
  • Good color choices
  • Nice big title

What doesn't work well?
  • The subtitle is very offensive. It sure seems this survey was conducted by some extreme right-wing group.
  • The overlapping colors make it hard to follow the pattern.
  • Radar charts are very hard for making comparisons across categories.
  • The radars are curved to make the segments appear to take up more space.
  • Unnecessary icons

I wanted to be able to compare all of the segments in one view, meaning both across social strata and across reasons. I did a quick bit of google image searching to get some ideas for survey visualisations to help gather my thoughts.

In the end, I went with a simple small multiple, waffle chart type design (mind you they are circles instead of squares). I chose to highlight the largest response rate for each social strata and call out in the title the key findings.

Click on the image for the interactive version.


  1. Andy, thank you for posting, it is very helpful. I wanted to see if you could post/attach the chart template data source. I downloaded the twbx but since it is packaged, I am unable to see the structure of that datasource and understand how you joined to it. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Sam. Here's a bonus tip for you! If you unzip a packaged workbook you'll get all of the data files. Give that a go.

  2. Thank you very much for your reply Andy! I had unzipped the files however when I open the unzipped .twb, it creates a new file location: C:\Users\sam.campos\Desktop\Tableau Downloads\Secret of Success.twb Files\Data\tableau-temp\TEMP_126asaz0kfny1a1c2irck0kk4cbr.tde

    When I go to the data source on the .twb and click "edit data source", I receive this message: Could not find the referenced file 'C:/Users/sam.campos/Desktop/Tableau Downloads/Secret of Success.twb Files/Users/andyk/OneDrive/VizWiz/Waffle Chart Template.tde' Replace with another file?

    It seems to still be pointing to your personal file location?
    If not I apologize, I have not had these problems before, but greatly appreciate your help. This viz is what our team has been looking for and would be perfect. Thank you so much Andy!

    1. Sam, there's a link to download the waffle chart template on this post.

    2. I may be a bit on the slow appears as if you've joined your data to the Waffle Template (which I already created). I'm trying it out now and I've tried joining on multiple things even creating a full outer join and no dice. Any help? Thanks again Andy!

    3. I'm fairly sure I used a blend not a join.

  3. Hello,
    I had my first run at a #MakeoverMonday dataset. I posted it on my Tableau Public profile.
    Please let me know what you think!
    Take Care!/vizhome/SecretstoSuccess_1/SecretofSuccess

  4. Hello!
    I'm new to the #MakeoverMonday scene and I tried my first attempt with an older dataset from week 13 - The Secrets to Success. I posted my workbook on my Tableau Public profile. Let me know what you think!
    Thanks and Take Care!!/vizhome/SecretstoSuccess_1/SecretofSuccess