Chart Chat Live - Volume 2

Thank you to everyone that joined our second Chart Chat live webinar. If you were not able to join us for our latest episode of Chart Chat, then check out the video on YouTube. You can also download Steve’s slides here and download Jeff’s slides here.


After brief introductions, Steve discussed Jeff's redesign of Florence Nightingale's famous Rose diagram from the first episode. Steve presented several other options to show this data, but ultimately came to the conclusion that they weren't as good for a number of reasons. One of the attendees pointed out typo on one of the images of the redesign posted on Jeff's blog. Thank you Rebecca for pointing this out. This has been corrected and an updated image is shown below.

Steve and Jeff then discuss lollipop charts, including Stephen Few's blog post here and the numerous comments from the community. Steve also discussed someone that challenged a visualization in a recent workshop that he conducted and explored variations of a connected dot plot, a slopegraph and many others.

Steve referenced the seminal work, Graphical Perception: Theory, Experimentation, and APplication to the Development of Graphical Methods by William S. Cleveland and Robert McGill published by the American Statistical Association in 1984. A paper that is one the foundational papers in data visualization, but we took a keen interest in the way the authors chose to visualize the data, something very similar to a lollipop chart, but made with dots.

Steve talked about meeting Joey Cherdarchuk from Dark Horse Analytics at the recent Tapestry conference. Joey is the creator of one of Jeff's favorite animated GIF series "Remove to Improve". Steve showed Joey's Salvaging the Pie Chart going step by step.

Steve also showed a few examples on this topic from a related blog post here.

Jeff played a new game with Steve called "Name that Viz Author". Based on the feedback we've heard, it was a big hit. The attendees did a great job guessing along with Steve in the chat window. There was also a lengthy discussion about chart borders, padding and the use of negative space (aka whitespace) in dashboard design.

Below is a list of the visualization that were shown and discussed:

US Monthly Sale by Kelly Martin.
Superstore Sales Insight by Jacob Olsufka.
Super Sample Superstore Dshboard by Ryan Sleeper.
Customer Support Tickets by Ann Jackson.
Unified Dashboard by Motadata.
CTT Wireless Dashboard from The Big Book of Dashboards by Dundas Software.
Regional Overview by Bridget Cogley.
Spotify visualization by Pooja Gandhi.

Jeff then discussed the recent discussions about sankey diagrams.
Sankey Diagrams: The New Pie Charts? by Chris Love.
Hashtag Analytics by Ann Jackson and Luke Stanke with special guest Chris Love.

Jeff admitted that he is to blame for bringing sankey diagrams into the Tableau world with a series of blog posts he wrote back in 2014 (hard to believe it's been nearly 5 years).
A Graph Recreation in Tableau by Jeffrey Shaffer on DataPlusScience.com.
A Graph Recreation in Tableau - Part 2 by Jeffrey Shaffer on DataPlusScience.com.
A Graph Recreation in Tableau - Part 3 by Jeffrey Shaffer on DataPlusScience.com.
A Redesign of My Monthly Energy Bill from Duke Energy by Jeffrey Shaffer on DataPlusScience.com.
Recreating a Financial Sankey in Tableau by Jeffrey Shaffer on DataPlusScience.com.
For more resources on building sankey diagrams in Tableau, visit the Tableau Reference Guide here.

Jeff agreed that sankey diagrams are frequently misused, but he also showed a few examples of where he thinks a sankey diagram works very well, specifically a sankey diagram showing building-level energy flow in the winter season and a A sankey showing the flow of students in higher education.

Steve ended the episode with a brief discussion on population pyramids. We hope to continue this discussion in future episodes.

Next Installment

Be sure to register here for the next installment of Chart Chat on February 19th, 2019 at 11am (EST).

We hope you find this information useful.

Jeff and Steve

Follow Jeff on Twitter @HighVizAbility
Follow Steve on Twitter @VizBizWiz