The z-order is the order of overlapping two-dimensional objects, for example, circles plotted on top of each other in a scatter plot. In Tableau, we don't explicitly define a z-order in that way. Instead, the view is defined by the marks that are being used. This can be confusing, and some times frustrating, when plotting marks on top of each. If a larger mark is plotted on top of a smaller mark, then it becomes impossible to hover or select the smaller mark. This affects tooltips, hover actions, or selecting a mark to highlight or filter. In this post I will outline how to control the z-order. Here are three examples.
If you are not one of the 100 followers of Katarzyna "Kasia" Gasiewska on Twitter then you will be missing out on some great visualizations that are sure to pop up on her Tableau Public profile. Her very first post on Twitter was her recent Iron Viz entry Water, Water Everywhere and when she posted a new viz last week, it caught my eye immediately. The viz was DID YOU SRSLY NAME ME THAT? and it was the Tableau Viz of the Day last Friday. When I saw the image of the viz I was immediately drawn too it, but before I even clicked the link, I noticed her Tweet about the "way-too-long initial loading time". As soon as I clicked on her viz I felt her pain.
I have been teaching Data Visualization at the University of Cincinnati (U.C.) since 2012 and from the very beginning I have been using Tableau as part of the course. Over the years this has developed into more of the curriculum, as students have asked for more Tableau training as part of the class. Last year I developed a data visualization course template for Tableau and included Tableau training and tutorials are part of that course as well. Besides being a leader in the visualization space, Tableau offers a great program for teachers and students, the Tableau for Teaching program. In this blog post I will outline this program and how to set up Tableau (for free) in a classroom environment.More
Tableau has the ability to import and plot a number of spatial file types. This includes shapefiles (polygon, line and points), GeoJSON and KML files. This is very handy and makes it very easy to import and create a map. In fact, once imported into Tableau a simple double-click of the Geometry pill will plot the spatial file on a map. It's really that easy. However, due to the structure of some of these files, you may wish to convert your files to a different format. Let's walk through an example.More
In a recent blog post by entitled Is this better than a Jitterplot? Could be, Steve explores alternate ways to visualize a jitterplot (a dot plot with random jitter to separate the dots). In this post, I show how you can create a box plot separated from the unit histogram.More
I was reading a recent blog post The Spawning of the Tadpole Chart by Mark Edwards. Mark's post outlines pros and cons for various style of this chart, but asked on this Twitter thread how to make the lines stop at the outer edge of the circles instead of going into the center of the circle. I've seen this come up before and I've attempted several different approaches for this over the years, so I thought I would share a few of those attempts and a simple solution that works well for creating these Tadpole charts and other charts in Tableau with open circle marks.More
This blog post is based on a recent visualization we created at the office. The goal was to visualize a list of automated tasks that occur periodically throughout a month. Some of these tasks happen daily, some weekly, bi-monthly and monthly. There are 14 total processes that trigger at different times during the month. We wanted a way to visualize this, in a calendar form, rather than just a list in Excel. Most calendar views in Tableau visualize some sort of Measure. or example, this tutorial by Kevin Taylor demonstrates how to create a calendar with a Measure and check out this video by Data Science Central. However, in my scenario, I do not have any measures. I simply want to visualize a list of discrete events on the calendar as text. I will outline two methods to do this.
In the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion about women in the field of analytics. For example, many people have talked about the number of women speakers at conferences or the number of women participating in various events and competitions. As I thought about this, I thought about the parallels between the trumpet world (actually the brass world in general) and the field of data and analytics (and the broader STEM fields). My trumpet professor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music was Marie Speziale. This remarkable woman was a pioneer, paving the way for countless others. I wanted to get her perspective and she was gracious enough to allow me to interview her for several hours back in January and February. What follows is a long conversation, but it is a conversation that I think is very important.More
It was just about a year ago that Steve Wexler and I wrote about a very similar topic. Back in January 2017, we wrote about the analysis that was done in a great many of the Makeover Monday visualizations on the Australian Gender Pay Gap. You can read more about that here. Yesterday, I saw a number of trending notifications for Barclays that caught my attention and I wondered what was going on. When I searched Barclays, I quickly started to see Tweets and news articles such as the ones below. Just like the Australian gender pay data that I wrote about last year, these headlines are comparing averages. At least Bloomberg and CNBC used the word "average". And buried in some of these articles is the important point.More
Brooke asked on Twitter if there was a way to find the nearest ocean coast for a given point on a map. I mocked up a solution for this and posted it on Twitter. In this tutorial, I will walk through the steps of my mock up.More
What is music? What is art? What is an automobile? There is a time and place for carefully drafted definitions. For example, when drafting legal contracts it is very important to have defined terms so that all parties to the contract have a clear understanding and avoid confusion. In the opening pages of The Big Book of Dashboards, we defined the term dashboard: “A dashboard is a visual display of data used to monitor conditions and/or facilitate understanding.” We spent a good bit of time debating this definition. We all recognize this is a broad definition, but we came to the conclusion that business dashboards, their uses, and designs, are so broad that it’s not possible to create a narrow definition.More
Tableau 10.5 was released yesterday and we now have viz in tooltips. I wrote a blog post in October 10 Tips for Viz in Tooltips. There has been lots of buzz about the new release. I am especially excited to have new features like Viz in Tooltips, because it usually opens the door to many more things, often far beyond what the developers at Tableau planned for a given feature. Last night I opened Tableau 10.5 and began exploring the new Viz in Tooltips feature again, so I thought I would write up another post with another 10 tips on using Viz in Tooltips.
In this post I will outline how to generate a batch of PDFs using Tableau Server (or Tableau Public) by passing parameters into the URL. Let's say you have a Tableau dashboard or report and you would like to filter it and generate a PDF for each value in the filter (or parameter). For example, one PDF generated per state, region, store number or salesperson. Here's the general outline.
Now Available in Tableau 10.5 Beta! Back in July 2014, I wrote a blog post Tooltip Canvas in Tableau - A Mockup for Chart Functionality within Tooltips based on an idea I added to the Tableau Ideas forum back in April 2013. The basic idea was adding the capabiluity of having a visualization inside of a tooltip. This functionality was demonstrated on stage at the Devs on Stage at the 2015 Tableau Conference. After that conference, I watched beta after beta to see if this functionality had been added. The functionality was mentioned again at the 2016 Tableau Conference, but it wasn't until earlier this year that I saw the feature in an Alpha release. This was very exciting. I was able to work with that Alpha release and try out different features and I knew that the beta release wouldn't be too far behind. Well that day has come. Viz in Tooltips has now been released as part of Tableau 10.5 beta.
Tableau just release version 10.4 and with came some great new features. Dashboard spacing will be so much easier with the ability to control padding and collabortation with discussions around visualizations has been added to Tableau Server. One of these new features added in 10.2 was the ability to connect directly to spatial files, but this was limited to polygons and points. Now with 10.4, you can connect directly to spatial files that are lines and the Tableau community has been having lots of fun with this.
This is a guest post by Peter Fakan showing how to swtich map shapefiles using parameters and calculated fields.
Bar charts are great tools for visualizing precise quantitative comparisons, but in certain instances they can be problematic. Fo example, if the difference in the data is very small then other chart types are often better, for example a dot plot. To further complicate things, let's image that the scale of the things being compared are all very different. A common example is stock price.
Shapes can be useful in Tableau and they also allow us to be creative with our visualizations. Here are 10 tips for using Shapes in Tableau.
This post offers a solution for embedding URL images in Tableau Public. This past week's Makeover Monday featured a data set of Artwork from the Tate Collection. A number of people in the Tableau community tried linking the images from a public website gallery to their Tableau Public visualization. These visualizations worked well in Tableau Desktop, but when published on Tableau Public they didn't work correctly. When linking to a URL, Tableau Public requires the URL to be HTTPS, which wasn't possible without downloading and hosting all of the images.More
Yesterday, Stephen Few published his quarterly newsletter and discussed issues around jittering dot plots. He proposed a new chart type or new version of jitter (whichever you prefer). He referred to this chart as a Wheat Plot or stripogram. Steve Wexler and I traded several emails with Stephen Few about this chart prior to the newsletter and Steve Wexler created several variations. In this post I will outline how I built the Wheat Plot in Tableau.
Tableau 10.3 was released on Thursday and I've been waiting to publish the 10th volume of Tableau Tips. With this 10th volume of tips published, I've now posted 100 Tableau tips. This volume of tips will cover features that have been released in the most recent version of Tableau 10.X.
I frequently get asked, "do you have any suggestions or resources on how I can learn Tableau?" or sometimes a variation of that question, "how can I get better at Tableau?". I typically respond with a number of resources, so I thought I would put my thoughts together in a post.
Last week was a very exciting week. The Big Book of Dashboards was officially available in the U.S. and copies ordered months earlier started to arrive. Images of people holding the book were popping up on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook and notifications of shipping and social media were going crazy. It was great to have a copy in hand and to see the final result of a very long and involved process.More
Earlier this month I wrote a blog post about Using Treemaps to Visualize Data where I explain how and when a treemap can be useful in data visualization. Last week Andy Kriebel posted a Workout Wednesday challenge to Highlight a Treemap, which demonstrates three different techniques to highlight a segment in a treemap. This post will demonstrate how you can change the level of detail that the treemap uses and even use different levels of detail within the nodes of the treemap.More
This installment of Tableau Tips focuses on tips used in creating a recent Makeover Monday visualization.
In a recent blog post here by my friend Andy Kriebel, Andy talks about Makeover Monday and discusses his views on treemaps and bubble charts. A few people asked questions on Twitter about when these could be used. A few people, including Andy, responded "never". I decided to write this post to offer some background and a few scenarios where I think these charts work, specifically the treemap.More
With the release of Tableau 10, Tableau introduced a new font family, the Tableau font. This includes Tableau Regular, Light, Book, Medium, Semi-Bold and Bold. Tableau created an all-new look for the Tableau 10 interface and with it came new color palettes and the new Tableau Font family. Tableau worked with Tobias Frere-Jones to develop this new font.More
Last year I presented a Think Data Thursday with Noah Salvaterra and Chris DeMartini called "I didn't know that was Tablossible". In that presentation, I did a short demonstration of how to build a heart in Tableau. Since Valentine's day is tomorrow, I thought I would post instructions on how I built the heart, and other shapes, in Tableau.More
This post is about types of analysis that aim to model a Boolean outcome using a continuous score and a cut-off point. Modeled scores can be converted to Boolean values based on a set cut-off point, i.e. above the cut-off point and below the cut-off point. For instance, where modeled probabilities as an output of a Logistic Regression, SVM, and/or Deep Learning algorithms are continuous scores.
When publishing a visualization on Tableau Public, I'd like to know things like views of the viz over time rather than just the cumulative total, the geographic distribution of these viewers and maybe device information (mobile vs. desktop) so that I can design accordingly. These are the exact same things tracked on websites. I use Google Analytics to do this for my websites and they have a great platform to track all of these things. Tableau even has a native data connections so you can connect your Google Analytics account instantly to Tableau for a deeper analysis. So why not leverage this platform for your Tableau Public visualizations too?
In working on the Big Book of Dashboards with Steve Wexler and Andy Cotgreave, I had the need to have high resolution graphics for the book for two dozen dashboards and various other images. My end goal was to get the best image for print that I could create, preferably a vector graphic. The source in most of these cases was a Tableau workbook. I've been meaning to post these methods in case others have this need. The learnings here come from countless hours of work, so hopefully what I share with you can help you if the need arises.
The Makeover Monday project, started by Andy Kriebel and Andy Cotgreave, is now one of the biggest community projects in data visualization. By the end of 2016 there were over 3,000 submissions and 2017 began with record-breaking numbers, with over 100 makeovers in the first week. We are big fans of this project and it’s because of the project’s tremendous success and our love and respect for the two Andys (and now Eva Murray) that we feel compelled to write this post.
This installment of Tableau Tips focuses on tips used in creating a Rainy Day Viz.
A step by step for recreating a Pew Research Center chart in Tableau.
Last year I blogged about Using HTML Style Object Properties with Embedded Tableau Visualizations. I used this technique to style a Tableau viz in various forms; round containers, borders, shadows, oval shapes, rotation and even making tiny versions of the viz. There's nothing new about these stlying features, but as part of Tableau 10, you might have noticed that the embed code has been changed a bit and all of this is even easier.More
A few weeks ago I posted instructions on Connecting Google Sheets with Tableau 10. This technique connects data from Google Sheets to Tableau and updates it daily. In the previous post I imported data into Googe Sheets using the IMPORTHTML function and returned data from a table. In this example, I am going to use a built-in function in Google Sheets for historical financial data which comes from Google Finance. The build instructions are very similar.More
Tableau 10 was released yesterday and there are loads of great new features. I love the new Tableau fonts, the cross-database joins and the new clustering capabilities, but one of the most exciting new features is the way it connects to Google Sheets. This is very exciting for a number of reasons.More
The fourth installment of 10 simple tips in Tableau featuring Unicode characters.More
There's been a lot of recent posts and debates within the data visualization community lately and one of the recurring themes is innovation, or as some have claimed a lack of innovation in the field. I'm not going to enter that debate at the moment, but instead talk about the process of innovation. People use this word quite frequently. Listen around you and I think you'll be surprised at how often people talk about it. But how do you actually do it? How do you innovate?More
Last week I posted a new Tableau conversion tool here for converting Tableau files from one version of Tableau to a previous version of Tableau, for example, converting a Tableau 9.3 file back to 9.2 or a Tableau 10 beta file back to Tableau 9.3. A big thank you to the Tableau community for all of the emails and tweets. Clearly this is something the community has been looking for and I hope it's helpful. I wanted to follow up with another post to explain how the conversion is done, provide further details about the tool itself and give a disclaimer. So here it goes.More
I have been converting Tableau files from one version to another version quite frequently. From students at the University of Cincinnati, people at the office and working on the Big Book of Dashboards with various people from around the world, I've had to convert all sorts of Tableau files. I find that more often than not, it's just a single version of Tableau. For example, someone is on 9.2 when the current release is 9.3, but sometimes it's a few releases off.More
One of the major concepts when studying graphic design is designing to a grid. The concept involves designing a page layout in way that connects it with an imaginary grid. Designers often show this grid when they are designing. For example, using Adobe InDesign they can make a grid appear under "Grid and Guides" in the "View" menu (and CTRL + semicolon to toggle) . Here are a few short videos that explain this concept and how it can be used in design.More
This post offers a solution for the error message in Tableau Desktop when embedding Google maps. The error that shows is "The Google Maps Embed API must be used in an iframe". Embedded web pages and URL actions in Tableau are really powerful tools. As an example, I've been embedding Google Maps in Tableau for a really long time, both for Tableau Public work as well as in my corporate environment. In fact, one of my first Tableau Public visualizations was visualizing Crime in Cincinnati, which I submitted to the very first Tableau IronViz contest back in 2011 and later updated in 2013. This viz featured an interactive crime map using Google Maps.More
In a previous post I examined a way to create Minimalistic Maps in Tableau without using Mapbox. In short, by unchecking the "base" in Map Layers you are able to change the water color using the formatting options. However, I was recently working on a visualization and wanted to do the opposite. I wanted to use the base layer along with the streets and highways. In other words, I wanted to change the color of the land and didn't care about the water color. Here's an example of a map I created in Tableau.More
This is a second in a series of posts about some of the well-known “data-viz rules." The field of data visualization offers many tools to help visualize data. We should leverage these tools to find trends and patterns in the data that we would not see with numbers in a table. There is nothing worse than opening a report in an Excel spreadsheet and seeing pages and pages of columns that provide little or no insight into the data.More
This is a first in a series of posts about some of the well-known “data-viz rules." We hear these rules, but the details behind them are often not examined in depth or overlooked completely. I wanted to examine a few of them to better understand and how they should be applied. For the first in the series, I examined the issue of using red and green together.More
My friend and data visualization colleague Jon Schwabish wrote an interesting post today about Disclosure Rules for the Data Visualization Community. I actually fall into every category Jon describes, so I thought I would write a quick post about my thoughts on this subject and provide you with my "disclosure".More
Bridget Cogley recently wrote about creating "Beautiful Minimalistic Maps" in Tableau. She outlines a really great technique for creating a simple map with custom colors using Mapbox styled maps and then removing the map layers to leave the map color and design. I love Mapbox and the integration with Tableau makes it even easier to bring custom map designs into Tableau. However, when I saw Bridget's post, my first thought was, why use Mapbox for that. Why not do this right in Tableau? So here's some quick instructions for creating a very similar result in Tableau without using Mapbox.More
I've done lots of speaking engagements, teaching data visualization at the University of Cincinnati, workshops and presentations, but last night was a first for me. I sat down for 2 hours with a group of 8 teenagers who are homeschooled, 7 boys and 1 girl. I am friends with one of the families and they asked me to come present. The age range was 12-17 and we met at my friend's house. Everyone brought laptops with Tableau Public preloaded and we jumped right in to the world of data visualization.More
This past week, I had several people ask me about finding the center point for a group of points on a map using Tableau without R. There are several methods for finding a geo midpoint. One of the methods that is described uses the averages of the latitude and longitude. This method assumes a flat earth. It gives a close approximation of points when they are within a close distance of each other (ex. 250 miles).More
I've spent the last few days working with my daughter on her science project for next month's science fair. She is experimenting with different types of forced patina on copper pipes. Part of the experiment is measuring time. She's recorded time for the various methods and so we opened her laptop and started playing with the data on Tableau Public.More
Andy Kriebel and I are now in week 37 of our Dear-Data-Two project. Back in week 23 of the project, the topic was "Being Nice". I had some difficulty figuring out the data for that week. I was really puzzled by the topic, what data I was going to use and how to visualize it.More
A little over a year ago, Jeff sent me a link to “BallCode” created by Peter Gilks visualizing the 2013-2014 NBA Regular Season. I immediately thought, "this Viz is fantastic" and within a few weeks of discovering it, I had developed a similar-style “BarCode” chart tracking vital performance metrics for work. This “BarCode” chart solution, also known as a "win-loss" chart, is more or less a score sheet for success or failure of certain work initiatives. I found this was a great method for visualizing a certain metric on an executive dashboard.More
Last year I did a blog post on Dynamic Geo-Optimization in Tableau Using Integration with R with a sample video and a description of how this might work. The original R code is from R-Bloggers posted here. Last month, Silke Govaert from Datatonic, emailed me. She had implemented this in Tableau and we discussed doing an instructional post to supplement my original post.More
In part 1 of this series, I discussed the basics of the Gender package in R. In part 2, I demonstrated how to leverage parallel processing to speed up the processing of names. For example, if you need to determine the gender for a list of 10,000 names. In this post I am going to discuss how to use the Tableau integration with R to run gender on a list of names, with and without parallel processing.More
I posted about the gender package in R and gave a few code examples to get started in part 1 here. If you tried this, then you probably realized very quickly that the processing time is very slow. It's a handy package, but if processing thousands or even tens of thousands of names then it would take a very long time. So this post will outline parallel processing (in Windows). By using the power of all of the processors it will cut the time down, especially if using 8 cores at once, which is what I will demonstrate.More
There is a package in R called gender and it can be used to determine the gender of a first name. The package is very easy to use and is really powerful. I am planning a few posts related to this package, so I wanted to begin the series of posts with some basic R code to get things started. Below is the basic setup.More
Earlier today, someone was reading my blog post about embedding YouTube videos in Tableau and this person emailed me because he was having trouble getting the videos to embed correctly. Using the previous instructions that I posted here, it only work in Safari, but not in other browsers. Long story short, the URL that used to work no longer work like they used to. I won't bore everyone with the details about why. Instead, I will post an updated URL that should work. We need to get the video ID in the same manner as the last time.More
The new color tools in Tableau 9 are great. I really like the new color picker tool, it comes in very handy. This week I was working with some colors and I was frustrated. I've seen posts and comments from people about using the custom color palettes and the fact that when the workbook is closed that the custom colors are lost.More
The results are in from the 2015 War of Tableau User Groups (TUG), here, and the Cincinnati TUG won! If you haven't seen the collection of final visualizations, you can see all of them here. I thought it might be interesting to walk through our process and some of the challenges.More
Last month I posted instructions on Using HTML Style Object Properties with Embedded Tableau Visualizations. In this post, I use the same technique, but I put one container on top of another container.More
This month is "Action Month" at Tableau, so here is a little Tableau viz that uses a URL action to send text messages directly from Tableau. In this viz I use 3 parameters. One for the phone number, one for the message and one for the API Key needed to send messages. I then combine the 3 parameters together into a URL with a dashboard action.More
I recently presented at the Analytics Summit at the University of Cincinnati Center for Business Analytics. As part of my presentation, I mentioned the human appeal of round edges in design. This can be seen in the design of our smart phones, tablets, furniture and in many architectural elements. This got me thinking about Tableau Public visualizations and how they are styled when they are embedded in web pages.More
Tomorrow is the deadline to submit the entries to the Tableau Wiki Data Viz contest here. I have compiled a list of entries that I have seen so far. Some of these have excellent posts as well on how they built the visualization. Overall there are some really great entries, so I wanted to post this compilation for my students at the University of Cincinnati to use as inspiration for their upcoming projects in our data visualization class. I've added the author's Twitter account so you can follow them if you aren't already.More
The prototype viz that I posted here a few days ago has created lots of excitement. I've had a number of people email and message me about it, so I thought I would post a part 2. In this example, I showcase one of my all-time favorite Tableau visualizations, When birds and planes collide, by Tableau Zen Master Kelly Martin. I've always loved her visualization, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to showcase her viz with the added feature of voice recognition using the Tableau Javascipt API, annyang.js and responsivevoice.js.More
This past week I had the privilege of attending the Tapestry conference in Athens, Georgia. This was a terrific event and a chance for me to catch up with many wonderful people in the data visualization and Tableau community. The agenda was packed with three keynote speakers and five short stories. As part of the afternoon session, there was a "Demo Showcase and Poster Session" where people highlighted projects they have been working on.More
Back in June 2013, I recreated Hans Rosling's famous Gapminder visualization from his TED talk. My Tableau visualization is posted here as well as Moritz Stefaner's Remixing Rosling, which I also recreated in Tableau here. Unfortunately, there are no "play" controls on Tableau Public, so I also posted a YouTube video demonstrating the play movement in the visualization here. A few months later, Mec Analytics posted a comment on YouTube asking, "If I want to split the bubble into smaller bubbles representing nations, how can I do that?" What this person is asking refers to a point in Hans Rosling's presentation, here, where he bursts the bubbles into Countries.More
"These aren't the Droids You're Looking For". Just like Obi Wan Kenobi's Jedi mind trick hand wave in Star Wars, we can wave our hand and transition through slides in reveal.js including slides with Tableau workbooks. A few days ago, I posted about combining Tableau with reveal.js featuring Mark Jackson's Tableau Public visualization on Urbanizing China. This post outlines the same presentation methods, but I've now added gesture.js. Gesture utilizes the webcam as a sensor for gestures to control the slide presentation. This technology is not perfect, but it does work once you get the hang of the gestures.More
Last semester, some students in the data visualization class at the University of Cincinnati presented their final projects. Their final project was mostly done in Tableau, but one of their charts was a sankey diagram and they made the choice to do this one in D3 instead of Tableau. They had a number of options to put this together, but they chose to use deck.js to put it into a single presentation. This was very well done and worked great. I had some additional ideas on how this could be used with Tableau and I filed it away to come back to in the future.More
Tableau now offers new map controls that have already gone live with Tableau Public and will soon be released with Tableau 9.0. There are a number of new features in the new map controls. For example, there is a search button that will allow the user to type in the name of a city or state, and the map will automatically re-center on that area. There are also new selection tools. The Rectangular Selection tool is still an option, but there is a new Radial Selection tool and a Lasso Selection tool. As a result, there are also some new keyboard shortcuts for these.More
Back in November, Ryan Sleeper, the 2013 Tableau Iron Viz Champion, published a blog post here on how to make donut charts in Tableau. The following month, Andy Kriebel, data visualization expert and Tableau Zen Master, posted additional instructions here. Both Ryan and Andy would be the first of many data visualization guys to tell you, "Don't use pie charts and donut charts" in almost any situation. In fact, Andy does exactly that in another blog post from 2012 here. However, in this one particular case, they both argue that the donut chart works well. Their example is a very common use case. It involves a Key Performance Indicator or KPI. More specifically, they are measuring the performance of something against its goal in particular regions.More
Back in November someone from Zurich, Switzerland, emailed me about using my sankey-style slopegraph technique in Tableau to emulate a chart in D3. The diagram is often referred to as a node-link tree diagram. To build this I utilized the same technique as outlined here. I posted an image on Twitter back in November here but the data used to build this was proprietary so I wasn't able to post the workbook. I anonymized the data and the Tableau workbook is now posted here.More
The Venn Diagram, sometimes referred to as a set diagram, was first introduced in 1880 by John Venn (more information here). Unfortunately, these chart types are not great visualization tools for comparing quantitative data. My first response to my student suggested alternative approaches to the visualization, but I got the sense from him that a strict client request was driving the desire for this chart type and changing the visualization design wasn't an option. I outlined an approach for him and then put my draft workbook in an archive folder. Since it's not a chart type that I considered very useful I wasn't really motivated to solve this problem and it sat idle.More
At the end of 1949, an associate professor from the University of Tokyo named Kaoru Ishikawa joined the Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers (JUSE) to help develop and enact quality improvements in Japan’s industrial sector. Ishikawa was brought on due to his great skill of mobilizing large groups of people toward a common goal. In conjunction with JUSE, he would ultimately create Ishikawa diagrams to help determine root causes in events. Ishikawa diagrams help show the relationship between causes and effects for a specific event. These diagrams also help analyze root causes and define failure modes while often being used in manufacturing, marketing, and service industries.More
As I was working on building a Sankey Diagram with Tableau, I found the excellent articles by Jeffrey Shaffer from Data + Science for developing a methodology to build a Sankey in Tableau. Starting with Jeff's method, I wanted to add some interactivity on my diagram and minimize the data preparation. I just wanted to be able to build my viz using the model provided by Jeff and a dataset with Step 1, Step 2 and Step 3 along with 1 indicator (size) and use dates to perform filtering. I didn't want to use SQL or an Excel Macro to prepare the data.More
In the field of data visualization, why do we care so much about visual perception? Does it really matter when creating charts and graphs? The answer is a resounding yes; it does matter, and hopefully this one very simple example will demonstrate why it matters. Below are two chart legends taken from data visualizations done in Tableau.More
I often see references and discussions around "data science" and "data scientists," and every time I do, I start to ponder the topic and think about writing a post around it. I was reminded again this week because my daughter was telling a woman that I know that I was a "data scientist" and she was trying to explain to that person what I do. She's eight years old, so it was really precious listening to her describe this to someone (She also has a small microscope that she loves to use and tells me that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up). There have been a number of blog posts that I've read that specifically draw me to this topic, after all, my website is called data + science.More
I have lived in my house for 12 years, and every Halloween I get inundated with trick-or-treaters. Year after year it's like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory at my house, with candy flying out the door. Now being a data guy, what do I do? Well that's simple, I count them. A friend and I keep meticulous count of the trick-or-treaters in 30 minute intervals, and I've been tracking this data year by year. After a number of years of recording these numbers, I decided to use it as a data set for data visualization training. I've used this data set in the data visualization course at the University of Cincinnati, training at KPMG in their Advisory University and Global Analytics training as well as other data visualization workshops and corporate training.More
I want to start this post by complimenting Tableau as being what I believe to be the best data visualization and BI platform on the market today. I am a huge supporter, a long-time Tableau Public user, a corporate user, an academic user, and a shareholder of the company. I teach Data Visualization at the University of Cincinnati, and we use Tableau extensively in class. I have introduced nearly five hundred students to Tableau in the last few years, with some students going on to have careers in data visualization. I also demonstrate Tableau in my corporate training work and various presentations on data visualization, data mining, and data science. I often tell people that Microsoft Excel will do everything it can to make your chart terrible and break rules by default while Tableau will do what it can to suggest things that are best practice. I could write extensively on this topic, but the focus of this post is to examine and discuss Tableau's publication of "Visual Analysis Best Practices".More
Let me begin by saying, wow! Participating in the 2014 Tableau IronViz competition was an incredible experience. The Tableau conference was amazing, and I was able to meet so many friends in person whom I only knew from social media platforms. The IronViz stadium was equally amazing. Five large screens, 1,000 people watching at full-capacity for the room, and two amazing vizzers to compete against (and really nice guys too!). Lights, music, smoke, and blazingly fast viz action. I've included a commentary below if anyone is interested, but you're probably more interested in seeing my viz, so here it is (or at least what it would have been with my lost 3 minutes back - details below). Be sure to move the mouse around the roulette wheel!More
The use of jitter is a great technique in dot plots, box plots with dots, and scatter plots. Jitter is a random value (or for our purposes pseudo-random) that is assigned to the dots to separate them so that they aren't plotted directly on top of each other. Tableau doesn't offer a check box, a built-in function, or a parameter to apply jitter, and there is no Tableau function to generate a random number. This is a common question from students in my data visualization class ("how to do jitter in Tableau"), and I was reminded of it recently when looking at a viz by Jon Boeckenstedt.More
Back in June, I started playing with embedding traffic maps in Tableau. Many of the websites simply don't work. For example, embedding Google or Yahoo maps with a traffic layer as a URL in a Tableau Web Page doesn't work in the same manner as a regular map, Bird's Eye view or Street View.More
Tooltips are a great tool for adding detailed elements to a visualization for a reader without cluttering a dashboard. Tableau has functionality to insert fields, calculations and many formatting options in the tooltips. Last year I posted a new idea to the Tableau Community. The idea is to allow more chart functionalities with the tooltips. Ideally, it would be a new canvas, where charts, maps, images, URLS, etc. could all be used on the canvas. I mocked up a dashboard with a sample of what a tooltip might look like.More
Sankey diagram are now even easier with Tableau 8.2. It's been a few months since my original post on building sankey diagrams in Tableau, but I continue to get regular emails with examples and questions. Today someone emailed me with an interesting question regarding building sankey diagrams in Tableau. By using the new and improved data connectivity it is possible to shape the data for the sankey diagram without needing to prepare it in Excel or SQL ahead of time.More
Tableau Viz of the Day - Tableau's theme for the month of July is "Storytelling", inspired by the new story points feature released in Tableau 8.2. So here is my first viz using this new feature. The topic is "Valhalla", which is the largest crater in the Solar System, located on Callisto which is one of the Galilean Moons of Jupiter. An interesting story, but there were a few challenges I had to overcome that I wanted to mention.More
Here is an image of the weather radar in the midwest from WCPO Weather Radar and the same weather radar view from Tableau. We can build this in just a few clicks in Tableau. Before opening Tableau, copy this list of states (with header) into the clipboard (Highlight them and hit CTRL-C).More
I continue to get regular emails about building sankey diagrams and sankey-style slopegraphs in Tableau based on the instructions that I posted here. I previously posted an Excel VBA for preparing data for Tableau here. A big thank you to Russell Spangler for creating this SQL code that basically does the same thing.More
Yesterday someone posted a question on the Tableau Community page here regarding my approach to building sankey diagrams in Tableau. The person was asking if it was possible to create the following sankey diagram in Tableau. I used the method outlined in my previous posts with some slight adjustments for the gaps which I discuss on the Tableau Community post.More
The video below demonstrates a work in progress. It's a dynamic geo-optimization in Tableau using integration with R. There is a post on r-bloggers here that outlines how this works as well as sample code that I modified and built on top off for this project. The top map in this visualization plots a quantity by location. Example, number of widgets in each factory. The algorithm uses the quantity as a weight in the calculation and calculates the optimal center location based on those quantities and their location.More
There are a number of options when embedding YouTube videos into Tableau. I will demonstrate some of these options using a YouTube video of my recreation of Hans Rosling's Gapminder in Tableau. Note: See blog post here for updated instructions (9/23/2015).More
I have had a number of emails about building sankey diagrams and sankey-style slopegraphs in Tableau based on the instructions that I posted here. Even though it's fairly quick and easy to build in Tableau it does require putting the data into a certain format before importing into Tableau. I'm not one for repetitive tasks and so I decided to write a quick VBA Macro in Excel to prepare the data for immediate import into Tableau.More
Every so often I login to my Duke Energy account to examine my monthly usage. Unfortunately I am greeted with poorly designed pie charts as the tool for making comparisons. I decided to do a redesign this afternoon. Here's the original chart from Duke Energy with my design notes.More
It seems the activity continues over my post showing the sankey-style slopegraph in Tableau here and the instructions on how to build it are here. What an amazing Tableau community out there. A number of people have already been playing with this and Tableau Zen Master Mark Jackson posted on Twitter a great use of this, showing the NCAA bracket ranking of Round 1 vs. Round 2. We started talking about adding Round 3 and we were brainstorming earlier this evening on how to do this.More
I received a number of pings about yesterday's post showing the sankey-style slopegraph in Tableau. Here are the basics of the recreation using calculations in Tableau to simplify the process even further.More
Andy Kriebel found an interesting visualization and posted it on his Facebook page VizWiz. I decided to take a crack at recreating it in Tableau. This graph is a variation on a slope graph. Slope graphs are fairly straight forward in Tableau because it's a straight line from point a to point b and the size of the line is simple. The shape of the line in this visualization is a bit more difficult.More
I need to start this post by stating that I am a big fan of Cole Nussbaumer's work at Storytellingwithdata.com. If you are not familiar with her data visualization blog then I would highly recommend that you follow her. Cole offers practical advice for designing great data visualizations and typically has wonderful redesign examples on her website. With that said, I would like to examine one of her redesigns that I came across today and offer an alternative approach.More
During the final project presentations of the last data visualization class at the University of Cincinnati there was a scripting error that kept popping up on the students visualizations in Tableau. The scripting error seemed to occur on certain websites which were linked via the dashboard actions. In the past few weeks I've noticed this error pop up on numerous visualizations and have searched for a solution to this problem. Tableau Support responded with this link to help resolve the issue and with some slight modifications this appears to have solved the problem.More
Here is another quick visualization that I put together to showcase the new Tableau 8.1 box plot feature. In this case I used a standard scatter plot to show the height and weight of the players in Major League Baseball. In addition to the scatter plot, I included a box plot at each axis to show the distribution of the height and weight separately. Using quick filters for both team and position it is easy to examine the distributions.More
Tableau 8.1 was just released this morning. I previously posted some example of the new integration with R. However, the other really nice feature that is new in 8.1 is the new chart type, box plots. This feature is also available as additional context in the axis dialogue where reference lines and bands are set.More
It's now day 2 playing with Tableau's integration with R and the questions for tonight: Do you have a list of addresses in Tableau and need to geocode them? Ever wish you had an easy way to geocode them directly from Tableau without using a geocoding service or website? Well now with Tableau 8.1 integration with R this is possible, at least in some instances.More
On Wednesday, September 3rd, 2013, Daniel Tosh ended his show Tosh.O with a real-world brain teaser. Mathematically 8!, or 40,320, is the correct answer for the number of possible permutations of an 8 digit number using these 8 digits. However, with some understanding about the composition of credit card numbers it is possible to quickly narrow this down to a much more manageable list. As soon as I saw this on TV I immediately posted to Facebook: “I really hope he didn't use his actual credit card number because there aren't as many guesses as he probably thinks there are. I could script that pretty quick and narrow that right down.”More
Earlier today, Tableau published a post here by Bora Beran titled Tableau 8.1 and R. He provided an excellent example of this integration using a very famous data set, a dataset of Iris flowers introduced by Sir Ronald Fisher. This dataset is often used in data mining classes and text books. In fact it was the very first assignment in Data Mining I at the University of Cincinnati. Bora's post shows off this exciting new feature that will soon be available in Tableau 8.1.More
I recently read a blog post by Naomi Robbins from Forbes entitled Line Charts are Not Always the Best Way to Show Time Series. For those of you who are not familiar with Naomi Robbins you should add her to your reading list because she has some terrific posts regarding data visualization practices. This was an interesting post regarding her recent internet usage on a trip using a mifi for internet access.More
Data Tables are great tools for adding context to a chart or graph for data visualization. However, be careful when using these data tables and remember to always check your data!More
The highlight for today is a refreshingly well done graph on the unemployment rate and median earnings when compared to education attained.More
This data visualization is showing the consumer sentiment regarding banks using tweets from Twitter and consumer complaints in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) complaint database. The tweets used in this visualization were part of a dataset used to build a sentiment scoring algorithm. The manual tweets were used as the response variable and we built several models to predict a sentiment score (the final model is an SVM).More
Recreating Moritz Stefaner's Remixing Rosling in Tableau.More
In this blog I present a function for plotting neural networks from the nnet package. This function allows the user to plot the network as a neural interpretation diagram, with the option to plot without colorcoding or shading of weights. The neuralnet package also offers a plot method for neural network objects and I encourage interested readers to check it out.More
This is a screenshot of some geospatial analysis of the membership standing for the Cincinnati Zoo. Unfortunately, I can't share the visualization or the data, but this screenshot was part of the final results showing the stark differences in the neighborhoods of Cincinnati for the membership status.More
A funny box and whiskers plot that I came up with and use in class to help the students understand how to read them and who is created for inventing them.More