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From good to great: How to improve your Tableau viz

For my latest Tableau Public viz I created this interactive dashboard of Frank Turner’s tour dates.  Click the image to view the interactive version.

The ‘great’ viz

But this is something like version 10.4 of my viz.  The first version I published looked like this:

The ‘good’ viz it started from

How did I get from good to great?

Feedback is the key! Getting someone else to test out your viz can make a huge difference to your design choices.  I know UX Design is a buzzword of the day, but what better way is there to create a dashboard that is easy and enjoyable for the user to use than to put it to the test.

I shared my viz with a couple of my colleagues at The Information Lab and got some great insight into what aspects of my original design worked for the user and what didn’t.

The ability to quickly iterate on the charts and views that I had created in Tableau made it easy to respond to the comments I received.

The feedback

“Love the top part, but the bottom part about the 19 gigs is a bit confusing.”

Should I take the bottom section out?

“No, it’s interesting but because it’s so spaced out across the page it loses flow.  If you make it the statement “on the 26th June 2009, Frank played etc….15 of the 19 gigs were in fans homes” –List of venues — maybe some stats about how long the total time played was or the distance he travelled.”

Adding in the distance travelled was a cool suggestion for an addition, as I got to make use of Alteryx’s spatial analytics tools to create the route map as a shapefile and calculate the distance.

 

“The red and blue is quite hard to read (especially on mobile)”

White and black to the rescue with a bit of red to accent the key figures.

 

“I don’t understand what ‘performing 38.8% of 13 years’ means”

Simplifying this just to show the total number of days on stage made a lot more sense.

 

“Could you leave the other years on time axis but fade them out when a year is selected? (so the line fills up the screen)”

Although I liked the way that my original viz inched across the screen, as you selected on year to the next, this change made viewing the data easier.

From this

To this

 

I also decided to make the image less of a big feature of the viz.  I was contemplating not having one altogether as I find it annoying how Tableau doesn’t allow you the freedom to resize an image on a dashboard. The photo reel type design across the top was my best solution to this.

Finally, I was happy with my changes and was ready to upload the new version. But the feedback didn’t end there.

And more feedback on Twitter

When I published my viz to Twitter, I got a fair few messages from different users, picking up on a couple of small errors I had made along the way.

 

Thanks to everyone who helped out. And next time you make a viz, ask a friend, or the Twittersphere to test it out!

If working in a business setting, you can always get one of your end users to test things out before you go into production too.

 

Anna Noble

London, UK

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