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2017

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My #BestNewTableauSkill this week focuses on a technique I learnt through people's #MakeoverMonday and #RealTableau submissions; not to mention it being used in the Big Book of Dashboards; creating Jitter Plots.

 

A Jitter plot is similar to a box plot however it displays the data points across a random y axis; allowing you to easily distinguish multiple points in a way that would be impossible if they were plotted on a single line.

 

To create a jitter plot is surprisingly simple. First create a standard box plot by placing your measure on Columns and your dimension in the details marks card. Next create a new calculated field random() and place this calculated field on Rows; it doesn't matter what aggregation you select but for simplicity I have placed it as a Continuous Dimension.

 

if you wish to place a box plot over the visualisation you can do using the analytics tab but this is purely a matter of personal choice; in the example below I have used one.

 

It is as simple as that; just one extra step and your box plots can become a lot simpler to read when you are visualising a large number of data points; the examples below hopefully evidence the difference.

 

Traditional box plot

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Jitter plot

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Simon (@SimonBeaumont04)

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to present at the London Tableau User Group (TUG) about the implementation of a Tableau Centre of Excellence (CoE) within my organisation. I enjoyed the experience so much that it inspired me to write a blog post that will hopefully encourage you to volunteer and actively participate in your local TUG.

 

Before I get into the selling pitch I thought it would be worthwhile sharing a bit about me; I am definitely not an extravert, my natural place in the world is not to be presenting in front of hundreds of people or being the centre of attention. During the recent #MakeoverMonday Myers Briggs week (https://public.tableau.com/profile/simon.beaumont#!/vizhome/MakeoverMonday-Week43MyersBriggspersonalitytypes/MakeoverMonday-Week43MyersBriggspersonalitytypes) I took the test and was very much in the I sections rather than the E ones; all the characteristics of someone wanting to avoid the spotlight!

 

So let’s start by dispelling a fear people may have
Isn’t it a bit scary presenting to potentially over one hundred people?
Yes I presented to over one hundred people at the London TUG but actually the experience is more like talking to your friends and family rather than to a bunch of strangers. There is one common passion of everyone in the room; Tableau. Everyone is there to learn new techniques and approaches for the product they love using, everyone wants you to do well and that created an incredibly positive energy that soon alleviated any nerves I had. I presented for 45 minutes and the time flew by.

 

Not only is it enjoyable you also have people on hand to help you
The TUG organisers will support you in your preparation and will be on hand during the event to ensure it goes smoothly
The organisers of the London TUG, or indeed any TUG, are awesome! Paul Chapman, Sarah Bartlett, Paulo Gomez (aka the TUG Tarentino for his legendary recording skills), David Pires, Nicholas Bignell and Paul Banoub all supported me in the days leading up to the London TUG. They read my biog and my presentation and provided useful feedback to make my presentation the best and most informative it possibly could be. On the night the organisers helped ensure all the technology worked and they helped the Q&A’s resulting from the presentation go smoothly. The one message to take away from this is that you will not be alone when presenting at your local TUG.

 

Even the gurus can learn something from your presentation
You don’t need to be the leading expert in your subject matter to present about it
I presented our Tableau CoE with Paul Banoub and Paul Chapman in the room; without doubt two of the most knowledgeable, friendly and approachable people you could ever wish to meet when wanting to learn about Tableau CoEs. I have had the fortune to learn so much from their presentations at Tableau Conferences and User Groups and I cannot thank them enough for the vast amount of time they give to sharing their knowledge and expertise with the Tableau community.

 

You may fear that what you are presenting pales into insignificance when compared to the knowledge of the experts in the room but even the Pauls learnt something from my presentation, albeit a small thing, they told me our approach to using tags to personalise a user’s content was innovative and something that could be easily adopted by other organisations.

 

The benefits…..
You may just learn something new yourself
People will ask questions and provide you with feedback about your presentation; but the questions will always be from a helpful stance. The questions are a chance for people to engage with you about your presentation, to focus on more specific points and to clarify the learning they want to take from it. That said, you may just learn something new as well, in my instance this was something painfully simple!

 

I chose to present my content to the London TUG using a Tableau Workbook shared via Tableau Public; this was inspired by all the amazing presentations provided by Tableau employees during Tableau Conference and Tableau Conference on Tour. It also meant people could easily access the content after the TUG; however the one thing I hadn’t anticipated was how small the Workbook may look when presenting it on the big screens at Tableau HQ in London.

Paul Chapman stepped in and suggested I zoom in using ctrl + to make the presentation a little bigger. I cannot thank Paul enough for doing this, having never given a presentation using Tableau Public for the slide deck I wouldn’t ever have anticipated the need to zoom in.

 

You will come out of the TUG with a bigger Tableau network and lots of new people to learn from
If you have a presence on Social Media the likelihood is you will end the day with a far bigger network of Tableau friends and experts than you started with! I was amazed at how many people reached out via Twitter, Workplace (the amazing London TUG online community space), Tableau Community and Tableau Public. Even now I am benefitting from this increased network; I am learning from more and more people passionate about Tableau and this is helping expand my Tableau knowledge and to engage in conversations that I may have previously missed out on.

 

It is an opportunity to get your work recognised

Many of the Tableau initiatives that we partake in every week, Makeover Monday, Workout Wednesday etc, are not only an opportunity to learn new skills but are also an opportunity to get your work recognised and to create a personal Tableau ‘brand’. Presenting at a TUG is no different; you will receive positive and constructive feedback on your work and you will also be presenting to people who will actively share the best bits of your work with others in the Tableau community.

 

People even took the time out of their busy day to contact me in the days following the London TUG to say thank you and to share with me the ways in which my presentation had helped them:

 

“I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed and was inspired by your talk at the London TUG on Monday evening…. as a result of your talk we have scrapped our league tables and are going to focus much more on celebrating achievement…. seeing that you are doing similar things has fortified us to continue to try and reach out (to our users).”

 

If you would like to see the content of what I presented to the London TUG the slides are available via my Tableau Public page:

https://public.tableau.com/profile/simon.beaumont#!/

 

If you do take the plunge and volunteer to speak at your local Tableau User Group I hope your experience is as enjoyable as mine was, it would be great to hear about your how your presentation went so please do reach out to me on Twitter (@simonbeaumont04) and let me know!

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My latest best new Tableau skill reflects on a technique I used within this week's Makeover Monday during which people were challenged to visualise the sustainability of public transport around the world.

 

I wanted my visualisation to replicate a Bus Route with each city alternating to the left and right of a centre line, effectively representing each city as a stop on a route. I hoped this would relate the visualisation to the theme of the data and as such increase engagement with the analysis; here is how I did it:

 

- Ensure you have a field that orders your
data. In my Makeover Monday example I wanted cities ordered by the most
sustainable so I created a RANK_UNIQUE table calculation:

RANK_UNIQUE(max([Sustainable Cities
Mobility Index
]),'desc')

 

- Create a calculated field that assigns each
value to an ‘Odd or Even’, i.e. left or right of the centre line:

iif(int([Rank])%2!=0,'Odd','Even')

 

- Using the ‘Odd or Even’ calculation amend
your measure to create alternating negative and positive values:

if [Odd or even]
= 'Even' then max([Sustainable Cities Mobility Index]) else -max([Sustainable Cities Mobility Index]) END

 

Place the amended measure value (3) into columns and your dimension into rows and sort
your dimension by your measure value (if you required a sorted alternating viz).

 

The attached document also includes a picture of the final output; if you would like to view and download my Makeover Monday viz to allow you to replicate the technique the link is below:

 

https://public.tableau.com/profile/simon.beaumont#!/vizhome/MakeoverMonday-Week46Top10citiesforsustainablepublictransport/MakeoverMonday-Week46Top10citiesforsustainablepublictransport

 

I hope you find the technique useful; happy viz'ing.

 

Simon