New ways to visualise time

[Updated for Tableau Conference Europe 2018]

I’m delighted to present “New Ways to Visualize Time at TC Europe in London. The content is based on one of the chapters in my book, The Big Book of Dashboards.

This post contains links to all the resources shared in the session.

The trend line is amazing. It shows peaks and troughs and trends. But if you only ever use trendlines to show time, you are missing insights in your data. What’s the best way to show time in visualisation? I cannot answer that: it depends on your data, the story you want to tell, your audience, and many other things.

CollageWhich way is time?

Time can go up and down as well as left and right. Generally in the West we point forwards or to the right, but that’s not the only way. Check out these:

  1. For further reading on how time is considered in culture and in data, check out this wonderful article, History on the Line, by Stephen Boyd Davies.
  2. Some dataviz goes in unusual directions:
    1. The Nasdaq viewer by WSJ goes forwards
    2. XKCD Global Temperature goes downwards
    3. Mike Cisneros’ Oil v Gold is an excellent Tableau example of vertical time

 

Jacques Barbeu Dubourg's Chronographie from 1753
Jacques Barbeu Dubourg’s Chronographie from 1753

A history of the trend line

We forget (or don’t know) that even the most common chart types were once ideas waiting to be thought of. Even though we build them every day, timelines were invented. Here are the milestones I highlight in my talk

For more reading, I cannot recommend Cartographies of Time highly enough. It is an amazing book about the history of the timeline.

I also love this fascinating article about time as a dimension in which we find the quote “the mapping of time has made only modest intellectual progress since it was invented 250 years ago.”

6 new ways to visualize time

Slope chart

Cycle plots

A cycle plot (or is Batman?)
A cycle plot (is Batman hiding in the middle?)

Highlight tables and small multiples

Index chart

Bump Chart

A bump chartA bump chart

Other resources

  • One of the examples I used is based on US Road Fatalities data. I used that data to create a dashboard that was comeprehensively described and deconstructed in my “Design Month” series of posts in 2014.
  • I wrote about a similar topic for the Huffington Post, “New ways to see time.” It has some other examples.

 

 

Who invented the lollipop chart?

Lollipop graph (WolframMathworld)

Last week, Stephen Few critiqued lollipop charts and I wrote a post in their defense, in which I claimed I coined the term “lollipop chart” when I first wrote about them in 2011.

Stephen Few claims he’d seen them several times before I made them in Tableau. I accept that’s entirely reasonable. I remember at the time I thought my idea was original, and if I’d seen them prior to my post, I hadn’t consciously registered them.

Stephen also sent me a link to the lollipop graph, on Wolprham Mathworld. One of his readers had googled the term lollipop chart back when I wrote my post. The purpose of the lollipop graph is different to that of the lollipop chart, but coining cutesy names is certainly not something exclusive to me (tadpole or barbell graph, anyone?

Which all renders my claim to inventing them hanging on by a thread! I probably wasn’t the first to make a lollipop chart. I wasn’t the first to come up with a cute name. Maybe, just maybe, I can claim the ever-shrinking privilege of coining the lollipop chart!

What has MakeoverMonday meant for you?

our-makeovers-summary-smaller
A selection of mine and Andy’s makeovers. Click for a much bigger version.

The 2016 MakeoverMonday project is coming to an end.*

How was it for you?

I want to know what your favourite week was, and why. What have you learnt? What have been your highlights (and lowlights)? What’s the effect been on your community? And the wider dataviz community?

I’ll be writing a post on tableau.com before Christmas so please share you reflections with me, in the comments, on Twitter, on your blogs, or anywhere else I’ll see them!

* What does “coming to an end” mean? Andy will continue to add datasets each week. However, as of the end of the year, we will cease to update the Pinterest board and the dashboard of statistics. We hope you all still continue!

AskAndy anything: resources

Andy Kirk and I did the 2016 #AskAndy anything webinar today. We hope you enjoyed it. Let us know your thoughts on Twitter using #AskAndy. This post contains the slides and links to the resources we shared.

What to buy a data geek for Christmas?

Possibly the most important question was one Andy Kirk asked: have you done your Christmas shopping yet? If not, you might want to check out the eagereyes holiday shopping guide.

Principles and Purpose of Dataviz

2016-12-08_13-25-01

The original: click here for the interactive

Chart Types and Techniques

Personal Development and Skills

The State of the Nation

MakeoverMonday: Austin Restaurant Inspections

franks-mm

We needed some Austin-related data for MakeoverMonday live at Tableau Conference. We turned to Restaurant Inspection scores from Austin’s data site.

I went in search of lunch in order to do the makeover, and found myself in Franks, home of hot dogs and cold beer. I sat down and ordered a bacon-infused Bloody Mary. Seriously? Bacon in a Bloody Mary? It was amazing.

From PenAndFork.com
From PenAndFork.com

Anyway, it got me wondering how well Frank’s had performed in recent inspections. That led my direction. I reduced the entire dataset to just Frank’s inspections. Turns out their last inspection was right on the borderline of failure.

My conclusion? Wonderful Bloody Mary. They passed my Restaurant Inspection!

Andy and I hope you all enjoyed MakeoverMonday live, wherever in Austin you ended up doing it.

Visual Design Tricks Behind Great Dashboards

At the Tableau Customer Conference this week, I did a session entitled “The Visual Design Tricks Behind Great Dashboards”.

You can watch the recording here. (registration required)

Here are the resources I shared.

Design Tricks

seasonality-in-us-road-fatalities

For all the design tricks, including the impact/difficulty breakdown, check out my Design Month posts.

Books

Visualizations referred to in the talk

both

I hope you enjoyed the session! What other design tricks would you add?

 

Beautiful Science of Data Visualization

beautiful-science-summary
Go see Carlos’ original tweet

I had a great time keynoting at the Crunch Conference in Budapest last week. What a great city and what a thriving tech scene!

My keynote was the Beautiful Science of Data Visualization: my favourite subject! The original content was developed by Jeff Petiross. My version has evolved from his, but they’re essentially covering the same content.

I was really impressed by Carlos’ sketchnotes. Too often, sketchnoting doesn’t actually capture info in a way I want to read it. However, Carlos creates sketchnotes which are amazing summaries. Go check out the rest of his stuff!

Someone else who does amazing sketchnotes is Catherine Madden.

European Disc Golf Championships day 3

l

Loved the battle at the top of the Masters today – Kristian held on so well for 2.5 rounds but just lost it towards the end, allowing Anders to draw level.

Holes change by round
Click for interactive version (and narrow this down by division).

Let’s look at how the holes have changed over the rounds. Is hole 16 the most boring? Sure looks like it: the most pars and very few birdies. Holes 1 and 5 have given up the fewest birdies. 

How about the gold/brown rounds? Here’s team GB. Derek Robins had a difference of only ten between his gold/brown rounds. Well done!

Click for interactive
Click for interactive version to find any gold/brown rounds.

How about some player profiles? Here’s Team GB’s Chris O’Brien who’s been playing brilliantly… over 2 days and had a bit of a shocker today.

Click for interactive version.
Click for interactive version (and to look at any player in the tournament).

 

 

 

European Disc Golf Championships Day 2

Another cracking day, judging by the scores. The leaders were having a good old ding-dong battle. Pasi faded at the end of the second round, but Juho stormed on through:

Leaders

Players clearly learned a new approach on hole 1 today. In round 1, there were around 60 pars and over 100 over pars. Today? More people got par than any other score:

Hole 1 different rounds

Now – what we all want to know is what are our Golden and Brown rounds? The golden round is when you take the best score of each hole and total that. The brown round is the opposite: what’s the worst score?

Here’s a static image, but the interactive version is below:

Golden and Brown

 

Finally well done to Team GB’s junior, Ned Morris, who had a great second round. Look at that steady-as-a-rock run of pars from holes 9-16:

Ned Morris day 2

Ned – don’t worry about bogeying holes 16 and 18. Derek’s done the same in both rounds:

Derek round 2

European Disc Golf Championships

It’s disc golf analytics time! My friends are in Finland at the European Disc Golf Championships. Here’s some analytics for you to explore.

Each screenshot has a link to the interactive version.

First of all – you can compare players against each other. Here’s team GB’s progress through round 1. Chris O’Brian did extremely well, while Derek, Dan, James and Si all ended up within 1 shot of each other:

player battle
Interactive here

How about the holes? Well, hole 1 was brutal. 4 birdies and >100 bogeys or worse. Ouch. Hole 4 was the opposite: 40% of all players birdied it today.

Hole 1. Ouch
Hole 1. Ouch. Interactive
Hole 4. Phew.
Hole 4. Phew. Interactive.

And how did the Open division do in terms of Birdies/Bogeys? Well done Pasi Koivu for getting 11 birdies! Amazing.

Open player birdie/bogey ratio
Open player birdie/bogey ratio