Category Archives: Tableau–Analysis

Free Webinar—Quick & dirty analysis with Tableau
in 13 lucky steps!

July 31st, 2013, Noon Pacific, 3 PM Eastern, 8 PM London
So much data, so little time!
–Stephen McDaniel
Co-founder of Freakalytics

Let’s face it: in the daily world of work, you often are asked to provide an answer to a new problem in less than a day. Of course, your boss tends to forget about the other three project deadlines you are currently facing, so you really have only 10 or 20 minutes to squeeze in a quick and dirty analysis.

If this sounds familiar to you, this webinar will walk you through the thirteen flexible steps that can take you from being clueless to looking smart with Tableau in just a few minutes. Hopefully you’ll be able to obtain enough information to come up with ideas for an e-mail update or talking points for the unexpected meeting that is looming large over your day, showing your boss and colleagues that you can deliver great results in time to be useful.

So, if you’re already a user of Tableau, this webinar will guide you in the critical path of many analyses in Tableau. If you are totally new to Tableau, you can see the possibilities of what you can accomplish in a short amount of time, once you get started and practice these techniques.
A preview of the first few steps

1 What question will you examine?



Okay, in reality this step might take hours or even days! But let’s assume you have your question, and if it is complex, break it down into several, simpler questions.

2 Grab the closest, readily available dataset Continue reading

Avoid flatline charts—visual analytics best practices

Balancing analysis of multiple years by filtering through the same month/day as today
Topics in this example
1) With a line chart, by placing Year(Order Date) on the Color shelf and Month(Date) on the columns, you can easily compare multiple years on the same pane of the graph. Just use Running Totals from the Quick Table Calculation dialog.
2) If this were real-world data, you would likely want to keep data through today; otherwise, prior years would likely be much higher since they are based on a full month while this year’s latest month is partially complete, unless it is the last day of the month!
3) By creating a calculated field that can check if the month/day is before today’s month/day and placing it on the filter shelf and selecting True, you can keep year-to-date data Continue reading

Quick tutorial on reference lines, bands and distributions – visual analytics best practices

The following article features Tableau 6

Reference lines, bands or distributions may be added to your views to emphasize particular values or areas that may be useful in interpreting your data. In particular, when comparing multiple groups or categories of data, reference lines and bands provide immediate feedback on the overall differences between the groups.

Reference lines

Reference lines are vertical or horizontal lines displayed on your view that mark requested values such as average, median, minimum, maximum, sum, total and constants (such as a line that separates the data points as being above or below a target). They can be added on any continuous axis.

1) Open the Sample – Coffee Chain (Access) data source included by default with Tableau 6

2) Place Sales on the Columns shelf and change the aggregate to Average.

3) Place Product on the Rows shelf,
     State and Date on the Level of Detail shelf
     and format
Date to ‘MMMM YYYY’.

Continue reading

Bullet charts and simple enhancements to maximize value

Bullet charts were added to Tableau in version 5.1. They are an original idea designed and advocated for by Stephen Few, at the University of California at Berkeley. The bullet chart is intended to enable easy examination of attainment relative to a target for categorical items.
According to Stephen’s original specification, “The bullet graph was developed to replace the meters and gauges that are often used on dashboards. Its linear and no-frills design provides a rich display of data in a small space, which is essential on a dashboard.

I have shown the standard Tableau bullet chart and a wide array of variants in our public training course. Based on extensive attendee feedback, I will share how just a few minutes spent enriching your bullet charts will yield powerful enhancements for your dashboard audience.
Continue reading

SAT performance versus school spending dashboard

This dashboard provides a comparison of per student spending with performance on the SAT exam based on the 2009 New Jersey Report Card data. DFGs are based on economic and demographic data. These are assigned by the New Jersey State Department of Education.

This work was created in collaboration with Bob Morrison of Quadrant Arts Education Research. Bob has extensive experience with helping school systems measure educational results related to how and where funds are spent. I have a great admiration for Bob as a passionate advocate for growing both music and arts education. Bob has expertise in advocating on behalf of students around the many ways that music and arts education can engage students and improve their academic performance.
Continue reading

Agriculutural subsidies working against the health of America???

Inspired by a post at Flowing Data, I present three visuals that demonstrate how the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine could improve the presentation of this vital information. I personally found it shocking that US agricultural subsidies were so small Continue reading