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February 18, 2018

Makeover Monday: Who gets all the medicine money?

I had no idea that drug and medicine exports were $318B in 2016 before this week's Makeover Monday. That's crazy! I went in assuming that the US would be the highest since drugs are so stupidly expensive there, but I was clearly wrong; Germany is the clear leader. Apparently there are lots of big pharma companies there.

I love learning something new! Let's take a look at the original viz:

What works well?

  • Resizing the continents by their overall exports makes it obvious that Europe is the largest exporter.
  • I hate packed bubbles, however in this view, the largest countries stand out by double encoding with color.
  • Including the percentages for each continent provides needed context

What could be improved?

  • The packed bubbles make comparisons overly difficult.
  • The color legend uses unequal intervals.
  • Plotting the data on a map doesn't add any context.
  • There's no sense of overall ranking across all countries.
  • If you ask "so what?", there's no answer.

The article that accompanied the viz provided quite a few interesting statistics. It would have been great if these were included in the original viz, but they weren't, so I decided to make something super simple that:

  1. Has an informative title and subtitle
  2. Provides context
  3. Provides insight
  4. Uses color effectively

That's it. Simple, quick. That's how I like my Makeover Mondays.


  1. New to Tableau and i want to participate in MakeOverMondays to improve my data visualization skills! Im excited to learn from the community, so any tips are welcome!

  2. How can I take the workbook to understand the steps you took to made it?

    1. Hi Ivan. On the bottom right of the toolbar at the bottom of the viz there's a download button.

    2. Hi, can I open it with Tableau Public? When I try to open the workbook, I'm just able to print the viz.

      Maybe I need the Tableau Desktop?

    3. Are you sure you’re not trying to open it with Tableau Reader? It should open with Public I believe.