2 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2013 11:05 PM by Jim Wahl

    How could this have been done differently?

    Alejandra Matos

      This viz caused a fair amount of chatter in my newsroom yesterday.




      We had a set of campaign finance data that we wanted to make interactive, with bios and information regarding donations. I didn't have much time to research, but this was my best solution. I used the image function in dashboard to create a button of sorts. I then used the "set url function" to link to individuality tableau sheets that had that person's campaign donations.


      Some of the critiques included that it was confusing and required too much clicking around to get to the information. I would have preferred the sheets to open directly on the dashboard, so there wasn't a page opening up for every person, but could not find a way to do this.


      How could we have done this differently, but still presented the data in a compelling and interactive manner as well as incorporated bios for the individual donors?

        • 1. Re: How could this have been done differently?
          Son Stegmaier

          I would recommend using actions on the bar chart to dictate the specific donors.  When nothing is clicked, the view for the donors would be blank.

          I took a stab at it to put it on one dashboard. 


          I utilize the shape pill and applied the image for each of the donors.  However, I didn't take the time to download all the images. I only did it for Messinger, and Ultrich.


          Take a look and see if this works for you.




          • 2. Re: How could this have been done differently?
            Jim Wahl

            Hi Alejandro,


            Thanks for posting your work in progress. This great. I wish we’d see more, “How would you design this?” questions on the Forum.


            You obviously put a lot of work into this, and the below are just a few quick thoughts. Tableau is great for sketching ideas, but I’ve found myself “perfecting drafts” with Tableau when my time might have been better spent developing many alternative layouts / drafts. Alberto Cairo talks about doing 20 sketches before deciding on a final design. Can’t say I’ve done that, but maybe posting on the forum would get me part of the way there.


            Anyway, the big questions are

            1. Who are the big donors? and
            2. Where is the money going?


            I tried to display charts for both on the same view to facilitate someone saying, Who did Brad Pitt give money to? Interesting, who else gave money to Human Rights Campaign National Marriage Fund?


            Here’s what I did:

            • Rotated the bar chart --- horizontal text is easier to read.
            • Colored the bar chart to show organization-level detail. It's interesting to see if a donor contributed a large amount to one or two organizations or a small amount to many. A stacked bar chart (without a legend, which would be tedious with so many values) seems to work. You might be able to color the bars with red / blue colors for conservative / liberal PACs.
            • Eliminated the drill-down on each name and displayed all of the information in one view. Part of what's interesting in the data is how donors' contributions compare. With a drill down, you force people to remember this stuff in between slow refreshes. (Tableau's greatest data viz weaknesses are tooltips and the slow response time to clicks or hovers. I'd be surprised if more than 1 in 5 10 viewers click more than once on a Tableau Public display.)
            • Used Tableau’s custom shape feature to populate the images, based on a selected name. If you also put the biographical information in a spreadsheet, you can avoid using a worksheet for each donor. See Custom Shapes.
            • Displayed all the organizations that received money from the top 25 donors.
            • Added filter and highlight actions to the dashboard. When you click on a donor’s name, their picture/bio is updated and their contributions to each organization are listed. By showing these next to the total sum of donations by the top 25, it shows the organization’s “donor depth.”


            I’d really like to see what your final solution looks like. I hope you post a link here.


            If you have any questions on what I did, please either reply here or shoot me a private email (jim@broadbandmetrics.com).