Green pastures

I have a new job, starting in late September. It’s with a technology startup you may just have heard of.

Yes, I am moving to Tableau.

I’m very excited and in many ways it’s the least surprising job move ever. I’ve been amazed by the product since first installing v3.1 * and have always harboured a desire to work for this fantastic, growing company. I’ll be a senior product consultant, helping grow the company and share its many benefits with the world. That is pretty much what I do already for The Data Studio and the University of Oxford, except now it’ll be my full-time job.

Between now and then, I’ll try to do a few more blog posts, in an attempt to hit 50 in total. It’s been fantastic blogging and developing the world of Tableau from the user perspective, and now I get to do the same from an employee perspective. I intend to be just as active in the social media scene, so you’ll still be hearing from me.

* incidentally, can you believe that when I started using Tableau, there was no Server product, and you couldn’t do the following:

  1. maps
  2. customise tooltips
  3. actions
  4. customise titles
  5. dual axes
  6. extract data
  7. keep your Excel file open while Tableau was connected to it
  8. maintain Print settings between sessions (oh, you still can’t do that – ah well, I will fight for it internally)


Jerome’s Tableau Viz Contest entry

Jerome Cukier has put together a great viz for the current Tableau vizualisation contest. Here it is, with my thoughts below (his original blog post and commentary are here):

The dashboard is excellent. It is technically superb and the story is clear.

Would I change anything? Not much,but I thought i’d list some comments. Don’t take the length of this list as a comment on the quality of the viz – I am trying to speak as one expert to another!

  1. Each of the panels on the right is a filter, but that’s not immediately obvious to non-Tableau users. Maybe put a Text panel saying “Filters” at the top of those four panels, and put a border around their layout container? I do something similar here.
  2. The “Switch to map view” is really nice. You could achieve that within a single dashboard using a trick that Joe Mako and Ty Aliversos have blogged about. Here’s Ty’s blog post. There’s a recent thread on the forum that explains this too but I can’t find it right now.
  3. It’s not clear what the bars in the “Year of sale” represent. I assume it’s number of sales, but there’s no tooltip or other indication of what the length shows. Using a bar chart as a filter is a great use of screen space, much more efficient than a filter and I blogged about that a while go, too.
  4. There’s no Y-axis label. I guess that’s because you can’t dynamically control the axis text. However, if you put the parameter onto the column shelf next to the measure, and then rotate it so it’s vertical, you get the same effect. I did this in my gapminder post.
  5. In order to make the story more clear, you could annotate a couple of indicative marks on the scatterplot that highlight the issue. You’re tight for space on this dashboard, so it may not be possible.
  6. Your label below the scatterplot says “Right-click….” That’s what you do in Desktop, but not in Public. You should change it to say “Click on a mark to explore”. Actually, what you really need to say is “Click on a mark, wait, then click on it again, and then you’ll hopefully get a hyperlink you can click on.” 🙂
  7. Finally, there’s nothing you can do it about it, but, boy, Tableau Public is slow (at 3pm on a Friday in the UK)

Good luck to Jerome and all the other entrants!

Next Top Model

The power of social networking has struck again. Next are seeking their next Top Model. Computer Science graduate Roland Bunce is the runaway favourite so far. I took the data of the top five entrants and created this viz to emphasize how big a lead he’s got. Go Roland! More details at the Guardian.