Tag Archives: dataviz

10 Nov

Need a Tableau dashboard? Here’s the information I need

This post discussed my use of Tableau Software. For more information on Tableau visit the official website

Tableau logo
I’ve always used Tableau to quickly get to grips with a new data set and play with different chart types until I come across something effective. I’ve also created several ‘personal’ projects using this tool.

More recently, I’ve been talking to several clients about creating Tableau dashboards or interactive infographics for them.

These are the questions I ask myself / them at the start of any new Tableau project, on top of the usual design questions (which may form another blog post at some point)

Feedback / thoughts welcome via Twitter.

 

CURRENT USE

  • Do you currently use Tableau?
  • Do you use dashboards and / or storyboards?
  • What version of Tableau do you use – Public, Desktop, Server etc
  • Is Tableau part of your usual workflow, or something you use for standalone projects
  • Is there one person who uses Tableau in your organisation, or are most people skilled in Tableau?
  • Do you use Tableau to generate your calculations, or is the bulk of the statistical work done in the original dataset?
  • Can you share files, links or screenshots of how you currently use Tableau?

 

THIS PROJECT (what we are creating)

  • What are your aims for this project? (i.e. “to create a dashboard to let our staff see our monthly statistics”)
  • Is there a particular challenge/problem your are looking to solve?
  • Who is your intended audience?
  • is the dashboard just for internal use?
  • What do you envisage to be the final outcome of this project? – i.e. a single dashboard, multiple dashboards (story), a single visualisation, an interactive infographic

 

VIEWING THE PROJECT

  • do you want the project to be viewable online by anyone?
  • will the project need some explanation/wider context?
  • will the project need some instructions or will all your users be familiar with Tableau?

 

THE DATA

  • is the data for this project part of a larger data set already existing in Tableau or are we starting from scratch?
  • is the data ready to go, or does it need more work to get it into shape?
  • is the data already public?
  • is it ok for the data to be accessible/downloaded by anyone who accesses the project?

 

THE DESIGN

  • is it important for this project to meet corporate branding guidelines?
  • does this need to be suitable for mobile use?
15 Apr

Appearing soon at …

I’ve had a flurry of invitations to speak in public recently and, as one of my New Years Resolutions was to say ‘yes’ more, I’ve agreed to all of them.

Over the next 2 months I’ll be appearing at the following events – ticket details below, and if you’re already going, do say hi!

 

logo

 

 

 

April CAKE Morning

  • Date: April 29th 2014
  • Venue:  Digital Humanities Hub, University of Birmingham, Pritchatts Road, Edgbaston, B15 2TT
  • Talk subject: tbc
  • Tickets: free available here
  • Other speakers: tbc

Official Blurb

Given the wide and diverse range of academics, businesses, students and Heritage organisations working collaboratively on the DHD project, we will be hosting free monthly “cake” (Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange) mornings to showcase current developments, discuss funding opportunities and tackle current challenges. Plus – there will be cake!

Personal Aims

I went to CAKE for the first time in March, and found it a really interesting event, although I didn’t stick around to properly meet many new people! Thankfully I’ve been invited to speak at the April event, and will make a concerted effort to mingle, and hopefully attract some collaborations and new projects.

The focus of my presentation will be cultural examples of data visualisation and info-visualisation – with a focus on historical and cultural examples!

 

science-capital-logo

Science Capital – Digital World Meeting:Doing Business with Data

Official Blurb

Big data. Open data. The potential for creating innovative businesses seems limitless. Our communities are looking for useful solutions to complex issues such as mass transit flow, better health systems and effective portals that help us work in new ways.

The Digital World speakers will show how big and open data can be used by individuals and by companies looking to grow. The event is open to all: to those who create, visualise and analyse our data universe; to those seeking new business ideas or research; to those who rebel as well as revel in the opportunities big data brings.

Personal Aims

I’m thinking of focusing my talk on past, present and future of data visualisation – harking back to some of the ‘classics’, to what’s being done today and ideas for the future. I’d really like to present an interesting insight into the world of data design – with some historical context, real world examples and advice for companies looking to explore this avenue.

It would also be great to make some new contacts, and there is a chance to network at the event, so I won’t forget to pack my business cards!

 

Print

 

 

Creating Usable Content

  • Date: May 12th 2014
  • Venue: SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff
  • Workshop: Creating Infographics (50 minutes repeated 3 times during the day)
  • Tickets:  here
  • Other speakers: Dan Slee (@comms2point0) Steve Davies (@filmcafe_steve) and more tbc

Official Blurb

The way we communicate has changed. How can we improve the way we engage with colleagues, stakeholders and the public?
The Creating Useable Content Learning Event is a day of high-tempo workshops that will equip you with the skills to tell your story in a way that attracts attention and triggers conversations.
During the day you’ll discover the benefit of other people sharing your content and spreading your message for you.
With a practical, hands-on emphasis, each of the five workshops will give you the opportunity to begin creating useable content right there and then!

Personal Aims

This sounds like a great event – delegates will rotate round a series of 50 minute workshops using useful introductory skills like social media management, writing blogs and using photography to promote.

It will be great to develop a quick version of my infographics designing course and, of course, meet lots of new organisations who may benefit from my design services!

26 Apr

Telling Stories with Data

(an edited version of this article originally appeared in the HyperWM newpaper, Nov 2012)

 

Once upon a time …

Alice I by Katratzi, Flickr

When was the last time you sat down and read a fairy story?

It may be a few years, but I’m sure you could tell a few of those childhood stories from memory. Whether it’s the interesting characters, the exciting storylines, the emotion you felt or the moral lessons you learned; the stories stick.

When was the last time you sat down and read a spreadsheet?

I’m guessing, never?

Unlike a fairy story, a spreadsheet has no characters, no thrilling plot, no emotion and no lesson to be learned.

You probably skip straight to the end, check out the total and close the book – you certainly don’t print out all those pages, and take them home for a cosy night by the fire.

 

However, there IS a story in that spreadsheet – it’s the story of a situation, a rise or a fall, a pattern or a trend. It may be a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride, it may be a fascinating insight into the current landscape. Unfortunately, it’s hidden behind all those rows and columns of numbers.

This is where visualisation comes in – taking those statistics and turning them into something the human eye can fathom – colour and shape, placement and size. By presenting these numbers in a visual way you create something that anyone can understand, irrespective of their literacy, numeracy, language, background or prior knowledge of the subject.

Through bar charts, pie charts, line graphs and full-on infographics, the story is revealed, we can see the characters (the different elements) on their journey – we can see the changes, the excitement and the disappointments.

That story will provoke a reaction – anger, satisfaction, joy or disgust – all emotions that will prompt our next move. Do we stay on the same route, or does something need to change?

Without clear and simple representations of the information, there will be many people who simply don’t get it.

And in the current climate of transparency and accountability – data is only open, if everyone can access it.

Once we reach this point, we can all begin to make clear, informed decisions about our future and the future of others and, hopefully …  live happily ever after.

29 May

The Spread of Tech [animated]

Key:

  • RED: fixed broadband internet
  • BLUE: mobile phone subscriptions
  • YELLOW: internet users
  • GREEN – telephone lines
  • (all per 100 population)

STORY OF A VIZ:

Altered last minute to the deadline for the Guardian / Google Competition

This gave me 2 hours do something with a range of data available, to address the issue of the worldwide recession and how national behaviour protected against this, or aided recovery.

THE DATA

Due to the limited time made quick decision to use a simple Excel data set Data World Bank dealing with technological advancements around the world over time.

I edited the many (20+) categories down to 4 – mobile phones, internet users, fixed broadband access and telephone lines. I felt there was a clear link between these, and would give a good demonstration of how technology has moved on.

The categories I decided to eliminate included electricity generation, motor cars, paved roads and access to water.  

CREATING THE VIZ

I then posted the edited spreadsheet into Tableau (paid for version – not public)

NOTE: I could have used the entire database in Tableau and simply used the bits I needed, but I often find it easier to edit the base data first (avoids crashing too)

I knew straight away that I wanted a animated map showing the spread of these tech elements over time.

Tableau has an option called Pages, which I haven’t used massively  – so the bulk of my time was spent changing the options (right) to create the right set up.

I was not able to remove the ZERO values, which gave those small red dots on every country when the animation starts  still need to solve this issue

Another issue to take into account was the order at which circles appear: in order for the latter circles not to appear beneath the earlier ones, they had to be ordered (in Indicator Name) in reverse order  – latter elements first.

By sending the animation to Tableau Public, I would be able to embed and link to the animation. Or so I thought.

I attempted to embed the animation into WordPress but usual iframe issues impeded this (seriously – this needs sorting out).

It was now 11:45 – I was running out of time. 

I initially settled on linking to the Tableau Public but sadly the Tableau Public version was not an animation, simply a manual click through option – not quite as good looking.

CREATING THE ANIMATED VIDEO

I then decided to make a VIDEO of the viz. I briefly considered exporting then individual screenshots  into Moviemaker but this would definitely lose some impact.

Then I remembered some screen-recording software I had recently used to create a vidcast – Screencast-0-matic Screen Recorder.

By playing the animation from Tableau Desktop, and selecting just that element of the screen, it produced a relatively nice finished result.

I just need to remember to turn off the mic next time and think more carefully about the font I used (the menu was a little unclear)

 

CONCLUSION

I am pleased with what I achieved in this short time, and discovered a new way of producing video animations.

However, I do accept that the chart, as it stands, does not really answer the brief.

It was fun tough and proves what can be done in a short period of time!

28 Feb

The Age You’re Most Likely to Win a Brit Award

Checking the latest data from the Brit Awards (courtesy of the Guardian Data Blog) is seems 24 is the age a musician is most likely to win a Brit Award

Age of Brit Award Winners (2005-2012)

Since 2005 12 awards have gone to pop stars at this age including Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash and Ellie Goulding. Similarly, Mumford and Sons, Florence and the Machine and JLS all tapped in at this age when they picked up their awards.

Could it be down to our education system, 3 years at uni, where they perhaps form a band, and 3 years focusing on it when they leave? Is it the power of the Brit School (London’s very own pop factory – which has produced Brit Award winners Adele, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and more) putting its alumni on a sure fire Brit success route within 2/3 years of them leaving? (see Brit School chart below)

Or could it simply be a co-incidence?

Other Charts

It is also interesting to see the spread of ages, over the last few years. It’s no great surprise to see the 20’s (olive green) is the dominant age group, but it is interesting to see the gradual shift to younger artists (although 2012 bucks this trend slightly).

Age of Brit Award Winners over time

This chart also shows an increase in age coverage as a whole, as the bulk of the chart takes a triangular shape, with younger and older artists being represented. (the average age of the charts, however, remains the same.

How about by category? Well, again – no great surprises – although it is interesting to see the change in categories over the years (a removal of genre specific awards, for example)

Issues with the Data

As I worked out their age from the year they were born, as opposed to the exact date, their exact age at the time of the award is a guess. Hence there is a very real chance that the actual date is a bit wonky. However, I had problems finding the YEARS of some peoples birth, finding their exact birthday would be a bigger job for another time.

What I would like to do now is explore more interested elements – perhaps carry out a an age study of the album charts (using the data from my MA Project) and see if there is a similar pattern.

The Brit School

Known Brit School alumni marked in orange

04 Jan

Uni applications drop off – but which subject area is hardest hit?

Thanks to a hike in tuition fees, there has been a drop off in the numbers of people applying to UK universities, compared to the 2011 figures.

Usefully, the Guardian has posted the numbers on their Datablog and I’m starting to munch through the data

Here’s the first set of findings – by subject area grouped into discipline, thanks to Wikipedia’s List of Academic Disciplines

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020