Hi Tableau Community! Get to know Tableau Social Media Ambassador Sarah Bartlett in our latest Tableau Ambassador Spotlight. Read the interview with our Manager for Social Media and the Tableau Blog Marissa Michelotti :
Let's start with some platform questions:
Marissa: How long have you used Tableau?
Sarah: I was first introduced to Tableau in November 2014 but I didn't start actively using it until the following year so I would say around 4 years.
Marissa: How do you use Tableau? At work? In your personal life?
Sarah: All of these!! I started using Tableau at work but quickly started using it more outside of work than I actually did at work. I got involved in #MakeoverMonday when it first started in an effort to expand my Tableau skills but I enjoyed it so much, I started getting involved in more and more extra-curricular Tableau projects for fun. I would say I use Tableau in equal amounts at work and for fun now. Working for Slalom, I get to work with clients to help them identify key metrics in their data and report them in Tableau in a story-driven way. Outside of work I continue to participate in community projects and publish personal projects as much as possible.
Marissa: Where do you find data for your personal projects?
Sarah: That depends! I am collecting a lot of Twitter data this year using IFTTT to track hashtags which I hope to viz later in 2019. I find open data sources such as GOV. UK really useful in providing data on a range of topics. I also use the IMPORTHTML function in Google Sheets a lot to scrape data from Wikipedia tables.
Marissa: What type of data interests you?
Sarah: I enjoy working with data related to society and the world around us. Often I'll hear a story reported on the news and go to the source to do some deeper analysis. I find data relating to people, crime, and transport/tourism particularly interesting. I also enjoy working with survey data. You'll often see me publish my own surveys on Google Forms and I jump at the opportunity to analyse survey data at work!
Marissa: How have you learned to use Tableau?
Sarah: My first experience of Tableau was via a two-day training course arranged at work. Prior to this, I had never heard of Tableau. This was great at covering the basics but I struggled to apply what I had learned on the course in my daily work. This is where I found #MakeoverMonday particularly useful. Being exposed to a different dataset each week gave me the opportunity to challenge myself and experiment with lots of different chart types and techniques. I have also learned a lot of the community and through feedback. There are countless blog posts, videos, webinars, and user groups to learn from nowadays. Even if you can't find what you need there are so many people willing to help you; whether that be on the Forums or on social media.
Sarah: I have two favourites. The first was my entry for the #VizForSocialGood project on homelessness in the UK. Not only was the data eye-opening but it was great to see Papa Baiden (the founder of Tomorrow Today) put the vizzes to good use to promote the extent of the homelessness problem. My second favourite was my European Cities on a Budget viz; my entry into Iron Viz Europe 2018. This was a real challenge to build but I really enjoyed the creative process.
Marissa: What is your favorite feature of Tableau?
Sarah: It might be a bit cliche, but my favourite feature is Viz In Tooltips. I use this feature ALL the time in my client projects to help add additional insight without over-cluttering the vizzes. It's a really powerful feature and has been a game changer since it was launched last year.
Marissa: What do you want to learn more about?
Sarah: I am constantly trying to Improve my Tableau skills. Currently, I'm focusing on Tableau Prep (the #PreppinData challenges have been great for this), Tableau Server and also on my general design skills.
Marissa: What are your biggest feature request?
Sarah: So many of my feature requests are now a reality (you keep spoiling us with new releases)! However, one thing I would really like is the ability to copy and paste text boxes. It may sound simple but this would make designing dashboards a lot easier.
Now onto Community questions:
Marissa: How did you discover the Tableau Community?
Sarah: I discovered the community through Andy Kriebel, Twitter, and the #MakeoverMonday project. Taking part in #MakeoverMonday helped me to join conversations on Twitter with other community members. It was through Twitter that I also found out about the London Tableau User Group and started attending so I could meet other Tableau users in person.
Marissa: What is your favorite part about the Tableau Community?
Sarah: Firstly, the community is so welcoming. I know it can be scary getting involved at first but there are so many people willing to support you. It's honestly like a second family. Also, the wealth of knowledge that the community shares never ceases to amaze me. There are blog posts and vizzes which cover almost everything you may ever need to do in Tableau and if there's not, somebody will be up for the challenge of writing one!
Marissa: What does being a Tableau Ambassador mean to you?
Sarah: It's an incredible honour to be recognised as a Tableau Ambassador. When I first got involved in the community it was the Ambassadors who welcomed me with open arms and supported me on my journey. Now I'm part of the group I make a special effort to welcome new people and give back in any way that I can.
Marissa: What advice do you have for new members of Tableau? Of the Community?
Sarah: Just get involved. Don't be afraid to ask for help, share your work and seek feedback, no matter where you are on your Tableau journey. Everyone was new once and we're all still learning. Through participating in the community we all have the opportunity to grow our skills, learn from each other and build lasting friendships. Take every opportunity you can to get involved, whether that be by participating in projects such as #MakeoverMonday, #WorkoutWednesday, #SportsVizSunday or #ProjectHealthViz; try to find something you enjoy doing. Don't be afraid of entering #IronViz either! It's a great way to improve your skills and get noticed.
Marissa: You seem to enjoy being creative with Tableau. What is your favorite type of viz?
Sarah: I'm quite a creative person so I enjoy building long-form vizzes where I have plenty of space to work with. My favourite chart is a connected dot plot. Given the right dataset, they can look incredible and are easy to build and interpret.
Sarah: Everyone in the community Inspires me in some way. There are too many people to name individually but I will give a special mention to my #databestie, Lorna Eden. Lorna is the queen of Tableau tips never ceases to amaze me with her Tableau knowledge. We spoke together at #TC18 and often exchange feedback on each others work. Secondly, I would like to mention another tips champion; Ann Jackson! Ann and I are currently exchanging hand-drawn viz postcards on a weekly basis as part of a #DearData style exercise. You can follow our progress on our blogs. Ann is truly inspirational in all she does and is definitely one to watch in this years' #IronViz feeders!
Finally, some personal questions:
Marissa: Where are you from?
Sarah: I'm from a town called Basingstoke, about an hour west of London. I actually live in a village nearby now where It's really quiet and we're surrounded by countryside.
Marissa: What is your favorite hobby outside of work?
Sarah: Most of my spare time outside of work is spent with my 8-year old daughter. We're always going on adventures and exploring new places!
Sarah, thank you so much for sharing more about your interests, your passion for supporting others, and for all that you do for the Tableau #Datafam.
If you would like to connect with Sarah or follow her work check out her profile on Tableau Public and give her a follow on Twitter. If you would like to learn more about the Tableau Ambassador Program, please visit this page on our site: Tableau Ambassadors | Tableau Software You can also follow all our ambassadors on Twitter through this link: @tableau/Tableau Ambassadors on Twitter.