MakeoverMonday: The Bermuda Population


I am going SUPER-SIMPLE with MakeoverMonday for the foreseeable future! There are 2 reasons for this. Firstly, I’m finishing my book and also going on family vacation.

More importantly, it’s a response to comments in Andy K’s post about how many people are downloading the Makeover datasets but not publishing vizzes.

This one sums them up:


For people who feel intimidated about posting their work: I am sorry. Our intention with MakeoverMonday is to encourage everyone to share their work, in order to help them elevate themselves, whatever their skill level. I want to see people share the vizzes that DO take only an hour. Or less. This week’s took me 20 minutes. It’s a straightforward area chart with the colour scheme copied from the original.

If someone wants to spend hours on their Makeovers then that’s FANTASTIC. If people want to take the datasets and spend hours crafting amazing pieces of work, then I applaud that. I love seeing the amazing styles and approaches people take.

One look at the MakeoverMonday Pinterest board and it does seem to an arms race towards who can do the most elaborate work. Pam G said she stopped doing MakeoverMonday because “so many posts were all about the cool graphics being used and not so much about the charts themselves.”

So with that, here’s my plan for the next few months: I’m going to keep it simple and focus on the charts themselves. If you want to join me, then please do! I recommend you read Chris Love’s Keep It Simple post for more reinforcement of this idea.

Why did I choose an area chart this week?

The original viz was titled “Bermuda Population Growth“. I like unit charts, but this one made it hard to compare each year being shown. Taking the title as my cue, I wanted to make it easier to see the growth. I decided seeing total population was more important than the actual Female/Male breakdown. Therefore I chose an area chart: it shows the total at the expense of accuracy of the gender breakdown.

I’ll be keeping it simple for the next few weeks. Who else wants to join me?



Add Yours →

This very well might be one of my favorites of yours so far. It’s simple and really easy to understand. I plan to follow your lead and stick to simple and quick. Kudos to you!

I always keep it simple, because simple is all that I have. I’m new to Tableau and new to “data visualisation”. There are some beautiful viz’s posted on a daily basis on Tableau Public. They are as inspirational as they are daunting. Infographic, broadsheet styled dashboards get a lot of airtime. They lead the eye and make you wonder if that’s the standard you should be delivering.

Whilst Tableau is generally intuitive, making a fairly standard chart can be more complicated that you’d expect. First principle for a new user like me has to be: “Think of the message and convey it”. Aesthetic embellishment is somewhat peripheral and has to be regarded as a secondary consideration.

I will continue to share my basic examples on a weekly basis, because I hope and believe they convey the message. If I can elevate my learnings over time to deliver the same undiluted message in a more aesthetically pleasing way, then that will be a bonus.

Thanks Andy! I agree with the arms race comment. It’s great to see simple visualizations for a bit, I’ve been staying out due to the time constraints to compete with the others – hard to invest 4 hours weekly with a 15 month old and consulting job :). Hopefully getting more into it soon!


As a total neophyte to Tableau, having found Makeover Monday has been a real asset, but I do agree that often, the visualizations are quite complex, and I find myself unable to accurately reverse engineer many aspects of the fancier viz’s.

I absolutely love the idea of making the viz’s simpler. I think it will go a long way in getting new people interested in and comfortable with Tableau.

I feel the simple approach will be a much more inclusive approach.


[…] But if one is not prepared to commit the sort of time needed to do that regularly to this activity, then one has to try and get over the psychological difficulty of sharing a piece of work which one perceives is likely to be thought of as “worse” than what’s already there. This is through no fault of the MakeoverMonday chiefs, who make it very clear that producing a NYT infographic each week is not the aim here – but I certainly see why it’s a deterrent from more of the data-downloaders uploading their work. And it’s great to see that topic being directly addressed. […]

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