It’s day 4 of dashboard week and I am starting to fatigue. No matter! We push on.
Today’s dataset counts the number of cyclists riding through the roads of Seattle. Potentially very interesting for a Seattleite (/satellites) or a keen cyclist. For me, a person who learned to ride a bike at 12 and has hardly touched one since, it didn’t excite me. The data is as shown in Figure 1 below.
Looking at this dataset didn’t immediately give me ideas (well.. besides a map. But I’ve overdone that). So I decided to make a colourful infographic-type viz to make the cycling data pop. I did a quick google search on cycling infographics for inspiration and came across this one:
My first day of Dashboard Week! Yesterday the rest of DS11 enjoyed vizzing >200M rows of data about snow ploughing while I watched from home (hurray for a coincidental day of annual leave).
This morning I was rested and ready to take on the challenges of the week. Today, Andy set us the challenge of analysing New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) body-worn camera data. Now, this would have been super fun and interesting if there was information on the crime that was being recorded, whether this led to an arrest, etc.. but no. As you can see from Figure 1, the data contained information on the times body cams were used, where, how long each video is, when it was uploaded to the system… not exactly the juicy stuff.
At the Data School, we are constantly challenged and pushed with limited time projects. This is to develop our time management capabilities, to teach us to set realistic goals and to give us the confidence and knowledge that we can do it.
So, what have I learned? In this post, I will go over my top tips on how to approach a time-limited project.
Step One – Finding your Story
You have been inspired to start a project on a certain topic or you have been assigned a project by your employer. Where do you start? You have to find your story.
If your data has already been given to you, you can begin exploring the data. Identify the interesting parts of your data or find an issue you would like to investigate. Be careful not to spend too long exploring the data and deliberating on a story. Make note of what’s interesting and try to settle quickly on the story you would like to tell. I recommend writing down your story as it will help you keep to the topic and avoid wasting time by straying.
For my TIL Christmas Song viz in Figure 1 (see it here!), I embedded a Spotify playlist so you can listen to the music in the viz as you explore. Embedding a Spotify playlist/ track/ album can be great for adding another dimension to your vizzes. For example, they can supplement a viz about podcasts, movie soundtracks, or other musical topics.
Doing this though, was not as easy as I expected. I expected a simple ‘copy playlist link’ from Spotify and paste into the Web Page object on Tableau Desktop (Figure 2) and boom! Embedded playlist. Nope.
Did you know you can make your own colour palettes for Tableau? This is great for businesses and individuals who want to incorporate branding into your dashboards and to ensure regularity of colour in dashboards across your company.
So, how do you make one?
Navigate to ‘My Tableau Repository’ on your computer and open the Preferences.tps file in a text editor of your choice.
If you have never added any custom colour palettes before, your preferences file will likely look similar to Figure 1.
Two major contenders in the ring tonight: new kid on the block, Tableau Prep and reigning champion here at the Information Lab, Alteryx Designer.
How do these two softwares compare when cleaning two Excel sheets (within the same workbook)? The chosen data features the table seen in Figure 1. The data includes merged cells, totals, unnecessary content, dates in a row and times in a column, plus its in German! Download the Excel file (2018-09-18 Hamburg) and follow along with me.
Among the many things we learned during our first official Tableau Server lesson with Jonathan MacDonald, we learned the importance of an often underutilised Server feature, custom view.
In this post, I will go over what custom views are, why they’re super useful aaand hopefully by the end of this post convince you to use them more!
What are Custom Views?
Custom views are like they sound. They are snapshots of a dashboard or sheet that you, the user, choose and save for quick future reference. Custom views are especially useful for dashboards or sheets that have lots of filters and drilling down.
NOTE (edit 10/11/18): Custom views can only be created by those with an Explorer license, but created custom views can be viewed by those with Viewer licenses. Thank you Chris Love for this info!
Let’s try an example. I will be using my UK House Prices viz (data source: Exasol) which I have uploaded onto Server.
Since my last blog, I have used Tableau Prep 2018.2 to clean five different datasets so I think it’s a good time to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of Prep…
As with Tableau Desktop, Prep is pretty. Compared to Alteryx, it looks modern, clean and is just overall, aesthetically pleasing. The user interface is friendly and intuitive. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ drag and drop? I mean, we love Tableau Desktop right?
Unlike Alteryx, Prep lets you actually interact with your data as you would in Desktop. I personally love being able to do this.
Tableau Prep has some great built-in features for data cleansing. It’s easy as pie to split fields as you would in Alteryx with Text to Columns. It’s easy to remove whitespace and change the case of your fields (note: you can only change the case of the whole string, not title cases).
Another super useful function is the Pronunciation Group and Replace. Take a look at Figure 1, you can see that ‘Growlith’ should be spelt like ‘Growlithe’. You could click on ‘Growlith’ and type the ‘e’ manually or… you could use Pronunciation as seen in Figure 1. Doing this groups the two terms together under ‘Growlithe’ (denoted by the paperclip icon).
Amazing right? Yes, but there are limitations. This segways us nicely into…
Tableau Prep version 2018.1.1 was released in April this year. Six months on and five versions later, Emily Chen introduced DS11 to Tableau Prep 2018.3.1.
My first thoughts? Its user interface is modern and intuitive with some great functions but there are some limitations. Tableau Prep won’t surpass Alteryx in power at the moment but definitely has potential!
Being a new software, many of you probably haven’t given it a go yet. In this guide, I will run through everything you need to know to get started! See my previous posts on getting started with Alteryx (link) and Tableau Public/Desktop (link).
Now, if you haven’t got Tableau Prep downloaded yet, you can get the free trial here. Otherwise, start up Prep and let’s get started!
The first thing you’ll see when you start up Tableau Prep is something like Figure 1.