1 2 Previous Next 16 Replies Latest reply on May 2, 2016 9:51 PM by Tharashasank Davuluru

    What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?

    Jane Crofts

      If we all agree that the Iron Viz finalists are some of the best of the best, then we would definitely agree that we'd like to learn a few of their tips and tricks - right?

       

      As a community, what would be our top 3 questions that we would ask each of the Iron Viz finalists?  Maybe Tracy Fitzgerald could help us by wrangling the data-wranglers and getting their responses to our burning topics?

       

      Here are my 3 questions:

       

      1.  What was your first data set and what viz did you make?

      2.  How long have you been using Tableau?

      3.  What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox?

       

      Please add yours to the bottom and let's see if we can get a consolidated set!

        • 1. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
          Tracy Rodgers

          I bet I could get answers to some of these questions.

           

          I know Shine Pulikathara hangs out on this community and he may be able to answer these three and hopefully keep the conversation going!

           

          What other questions do people have?

           

          I might ask - what was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? Did it inspire you? Make you nervous?

           

          -Tracy

          • 2. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
            Shine Pulikathara

            Thanks for the ping Tracy!

             

            I recently shared a post on 10 steps to winning the Iron Viz Championship on my blog. So definitely check that out if you haven't already.

             

            Jane - Here are my answers to your questions:

            1.  What was your first data set and what viz did you make?

            I downloaded Tableau for the first time when I was pursuing my MBA from Indiana University. I built a map with pie charts showing the global presence of a client for whom we were preparing some solution recommendations. I have steered away from pies since then as much as possible after I learned more about the principles of Data Visualization.

             

            2.  How long have you been using Tableau? 5 years

             

            3.  What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox?

            I'd say it was the embedded narration that I used to create the feeling of a museum tour in the Wiki Data Viz Contest qualifier that helped me clinch a spot in the Iron Viz Finals.

             

            Answers to Tracy's questions:

            What was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? Did it inspire you? Make you nervous?

            I think the opportunity to create a viz in 20 minutes at such an awe-inspiring arena like the MGM Grand Garden Arena comes once in a lifetime. So I truly count myself as lucky and was inspired to give it my best shot! The absolute scale of the place did make me a little nervous (even one of the keynote speakers Hannah Fry posted a tweet with a picture of the arena and one word - GULP, so I know I am not alone!). But I was surprisingly calm on the day of the contest. I really felt comfortable talking to everyone gathered there to watch. I believed in the story I wanted to share, and I think that helped.


            Happy to answer any other questions folks have!

            • 3. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
              Jane Crofts

              Hi Shine,

               

               

              thank you so much for taking the time to jump in and answer those questions - I can imagine your days are a lot busier now that you're wearing the Iron Viz crown?

               

               

              As I've already said in some of my tweets, it was an absolute privilege to watch you work and even more so to listen to you as you described the why and the how of your dashboard at the end.

               

               

              A very worthy winner in my humble opinion!!!

              • 4. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                Shine Pulikathara

                Thanks Jane! I appreciated the support I received from all of you!

                • 5. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                  Jeffrey Shaffer

                  I didn't walk away with the crown last year, but I'll jump in on your questions.

                   

                  1.  What was your first data set and what viz did you make?

                  The started playing with Tableau Public before anything else. I think my first data set was crime data in Cincinnati. My viz has been revised several times since then and data updated, but here's a later variation. I always keep coming back to crime visualizations. It's such a rich data set for analysis.

                  https://public.tableau.com/profile/jeffs8297#!/vizhome/ACincinnatiCrimeVisualization/StartPage

                   

                  2.  How long have you been using Tableau? 5-6 years

                   

                  3.  What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox?

                  I've spent loads of time this year with the Javascript API, adding voice recognition and voice response and other cool UI things. This last week was spent exploring the preference file and spelunking for more namespaces.

                  http://www.dataplusscience.com/TabPreference.html

                   

                  Answers to Tracy's questions:

                  What was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? Did it inspire you? Make you nervous?

                  I had a major technology glitch last year. I ended up creating my viz in 17 minutes and given the fact I lost those 3 minutes, I was pleased where I ended up. The pressure wasn't just the time, but the different resolution on my screen caused by the projector being attached. The set up this year looked much better, but they were also using laptops that were provided to them, which also adds to the uncertainty. The other issue that is troubling is the size of the data sets. You can't hit save along the way, because you waste so much time waiting for the viz to save. Here's my write up as well.

                  http://www.dataplusscience.com/IronVizShaffer.html

                   

                  I will add that Shine was amazing. A really terrific viz.

                   

                  Jeff

                  1 of 1 people found this helpful
                  • 6. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                    Jonathan TRAJKOVIC

                    Hi everyone!

                     

                    Like Jeffrey, I didn't win the crown last year but I am glad to answer your questions.

                     

                    1.  What was your first data set and what viz did you make?

                    I began with the trial version during my last Master's degree. I had a project to do with 2 others students and it was about Data Visualization. I did a benchmark and chose Tableau. My first data set was about obesity in France. When I look at it now I tell me that I did a long way! :-)

                    | Tableau Public

                     

                    2.  How long have you been using Tableau? 3 years and half.

                     

                    3.  What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox?

                    I use a lot of maps and love to do custom shapes. In the viz which give me the chance to go to IronViz, I draw a car and in another viz I draw the Eiffel Tower. Here is my method:

                    *Tips&Viz*: This is #DATA14

                     

                    What was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? Did it inspire you? Make you nervous?

                    It was an amazing experience. Specifically for a French guy! I had to use my own computer and force other contestants to use theirs (sorry Jeff! ) because of my keyboard. I did my viz really quickly (almost 18 minutes to make it) because I was nervous! And finally it inspired me because I told to my boss when I came back to France that I will work minute by minute rather than by day!


                    I was able to see the IronViz this year but Shine your work is incredible! Congrats!


                    Jonathan T.

                    • 7. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                      Shine Pulikathara

                      Actually jonathan.trajkovic, you needn't apologize - you did Jeff and John a favor by letting them use their own laptops. It's funny how we get used to own laptop keyboards, and moving to even a slightly different layout slows the brain down. For example, the home, end, delete keys were in different places on the laptops we were provided for the contest. So I had to practice some more just to get used to that.

                       

                      And Jeffrey Shaffer, great point about the data set sizes. I didn't hit save either since that would take at least 30 seconds.

                      • 8. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                        Jonathan TRAJKOVIC

                        shine.pulikathara My keyboard was very important because it's a french keyboard (not a QWERTY one) so a lot of keys are different !

                         

                        And I join you about dataset sizes. I remember to save my workbook after the contest and not during the show. Too dangerous!

                         

                        Jonathan T.

                        • 9. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                          Daniel Vincent

                          I'm always impressed with IronViz every year.  Doing anything under pressure makes it extremely difficult to accomplish, not to mention, it's entertaining to watch. 

                           

                          For me, I think about how these contestants look at the data to tell a particular story is more impressive.  We all have our bag of tricks at any level.  But that doesn't mean anything if you can't produce a useable story for your user.  Using Shine Pulikathara as an example, the story he wanted to convey with the data was easily understood.  It was a very polished example with what data he was given even encouraging users to want to interact with it.  This is what Tableau is about not just quick visuals but being able to come up with a data driven visual story.

                           

                          With that said...I'm curious how long they have with the data to play around with prior to the event.  Shine Pulikathara, did you know before looking at the data what kind of story you were going to tell or did you do some analysis prior to digesting it in Tableau?

                          • 10. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                            Ryan Sleeper

                            Thank you for your interest Jane Crofts and Tracy Rodgers - it's always humbling to receive questions from the talented Tableau community. Also thanks to Shine Pulikathara, Jeffrey Shaffer, and Jonathan TRAJKOVIC for the responses so far and the rest of the Iron Viz contestants for always being so gracious and generous.

                             

                            Jane

                            1.  What was your first data set and what viz did you make? My background is in digital analytics, so my first data set was email marketing data from ExactTarget. My first public viz was about NFL Interconference Records in 2012. I consider this a quite humble beginning, and love to point out that persistence with Tableau can take you a very long way. One of the best ways to learn / track your progress is to make a viz on the same topic once per year - you will be amazed by the results.

                             

                            2.  How long have you been using Tableau? Six years.

                             

                            3.  What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox? I'm interested in the design and usability of visualizations so most of my 'tricks' revolve around color, navigation, and the use of parameters. While not really a trick, I would not have had any chance to participate in Iron Viz without these 15 storytelling tips / principles.

                             

                            Tracy

                            1. What was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? There's an old joke with designers that people are always looking over your shoulder and everybody has an opinion, so I am very used to people watching me work and providing feedback. I always like to share that of the hundreds of dashboards I have built, I still haven't built a single one that everybody thought was perfect - and that's okay Here are some pictures of hovering art directors.

                             

                            2. Did it inspire you? I always find inspiration in the Tableau community, and I think the Iron Viz, in particular, brought out the best in my work. I was competing against a personal mentor and data viz hero, Kelly Martin - what more inspiration could I possibly ask for?

                             

                            3. Make you nervous? It's always nerve-racking to do anything in front of that many people but two things helped me keep calm: 1. I presented in the same room as the Iron Viz twice before the event; this provided a comfort with the room, size of the audience, and the technical set-up in the room 2. For some reason in college, I thought it would be a good idea to study in crowded places (and my Alma mater, UCF, has a lot of them with 60,000+ students); this practice has always helped me focus. When you're very focused, you tend to forget the entire situation around you, which helps the nerves - ignorance is bliss.

                             

                            I hope this helps,

                            - Ryan

                            • 11. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                              John Mathis

                              Thanks for the questions and thanks to Jeffrey Shaffer for reaching out to several of us about this thread!

                               

                              What was your first data set and what viz did you make? My first viz was based on a Medicare dataset that evaluated the differences in costs and coverages of inpatient care across the United States. The current viz has been revised slightly from when I originally posted it. It revealed very stark differences across states, even those that are geographically/demographically similar. I was just getting started when I created this and its humbling to look back at where I started.

                               

                              How long have you been using Tableau? Three years – relative newbie! Though my career has always centered around data and business intelligence.

                               

                              What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox? I love information-rich tooltips that provide an additional level of insight beyond the information already displayed in the chart. I am especially looking forward to the new chart-in-tooltip functionality announced last week! Oftentimes the most compelling and insightful dashboards don’t use exotic features or massive workarounds, instead they apply basic features in a very elegant fashion.

                               

                              What was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? During the 20 minutes I was actually on stage, I was so focused on the creating the viz everything else literally faded out. I went back and watched the video since I missed all of the commentary. I very clearly recall the only moment I was taken out of this zone was then the audience let out a huge ‘ooooooohhhh, ahhhhhhh’ followed by applause. I had done nothing remarkable at this point so I knew it wasn’t for me which had me worried. This I later figured out when Jeffrey Shaffer revealed his roulette wheel! I was also slightly concerned I wouldn’t do things in the most efficient way possible, so I brushed up on shortcuts ahead of time (my favorite, right-click dragging measures/dates let’s you pick the type/level of aggregation in one action!).

                               

                              Did it inspire you? Absolutely. The entire community is about inspiring one another and the Iron Viz is just one component of that community. I am continually inspired by Iron Viz, Tableau Public, and the broader Tableau community.

                               

                              Make you nervous? Yes. The worst part about it was the days leading up to the competition. TC14 was not particularly enjoyable in that sense - I spent a lot of time in the hotel room practicing. I was hyper-critical of my own work and put a huge amount of effort into preparing. If you’re going up against the likes of now Zen Masters jeffreyshaffer, and jonathan.trajkovic, you’d be worried too! When I actually got onstage I was probably the calmest I had been all week. I knew I had a great viz and even if I lost I’d go down proud. At that point it was just time to execute!

                              • 12. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                                Shine Pulikathara

                                Ryan Sleeper Those 15 storytelling tips / principles were a great resource for me while prepping for Iron Viz. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

                                • 13. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                                  Matthew Chambers

                                  Hi Jane and Tracy,


                                  Thanks for posting this and asking such great questions.


                                  Answers to Jane's questions:

                                  1.  What was your first data set and what viz did you make?

                                  My first Tableau Public viz was built using a data set on the NFL Combine from 1999 to 2015.  I have always been fascinated with quantifying the performance of the players at the combine.  I wanted to see which players possessed the most explosive combinations of size and speed.  I have a very strong background in statistics, hence my preference for using Z-scores, so I wanted to build a dashboard that would let you see who the outliers of the NFL Combine were by grouping them into percentiles using Z-scores.  This is still my most viewed viz on Tableau Public.

                                   

                                  2.  How long have you been using Tableau?

                                  Less than 2 years.  I am a relative newcomer to Tableau by the standards of the other Iron Viz contestants.  I was a full-stack software developer for 7 years before discovering Tableau.  I discovered Tableau when building a prototype coupon scanning device.  I was pushing all redemption transactions to Splunk, a schemaless data store, and I needed a tool for rapid prototyping of dashboards.  Tableau had a native Splunk driver, and the rest is history.

                                   

                                  3.  What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox?

                                  I'd say anything to do with paths and maps.  I really like using Tableau to plot shape files on maps.  I built this visualization to show the change in the campus of Clemson University over time.


                                  Once again, for the viz that won my spot in Iron Viz, I combined my use of Z-scores with paths to create a dashboard that quantifies how weather affects flights in the top 10 most-traveled airports.


                                  And finally, I really enjoy using paths to build Sankey diagrams.  I built this viz to show the path of football players from high school, to college, to the NFL.


                                  Answers to Tracy's questions:

                                  What was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? Did it inspire you? Make you nervous?

                                  I will be completely candid on this question.  I was extremely nervous.  I spoke at a session a few days before the Iron Viz on Tableau Public and blogging hoping it would prepare me, but the MGM Grand Garden Arena is a completely different feel.  I was using some pretty advanced calculations to build my viz, which was a major concern.  After I finished my viz, I realized that my Z-score calculation was mistyped, and it caused my color legend to be wrong.  This greatly impacted my ability to tell the story I had practiced since the colors would have made it difficult to understand.

                                  • 14. Re: What do we want to learn from the Iron Viz finalists?
                                    Anya A'hearn

                                    Hello All,


                                    Sorry for being late on chiming in:


                                    @Jane

                                    1.  What was your first data set and what viz did you make?  I started as an analyst for Lufthansa over 20 years ago, so I have been doing fun things with juicy data for a really long time.  My first Tableau Public viz was on the SF School Lottery and the the probability of getting into one of your choice schools  I was super excited about pubic, because I could share this useful tool with all SF parents.  It looks so dated now, but it was over 5 years ago so there were no floating containers and such.  https://public.tableau.com/views/MaxChance3/MaxChance?:embed=y&:display_count=yes&:showTabs=y

                                     

                                    2.  How long have you been using Tableau? Over 7 years.

                                     

                                    3.  What is the coolest 'trick' you've got in your tableau-toolbox? Before you start, define the use-case and goal of your viz and then create a flow to support that navigation through the data and story.   That and a little delightfulness to draw the user into your viz in the first place.

                                     

                                    Tracy

                                    1. & 3. What was it like creating a viz under all that pressure? I was very nervous.  So much so, that I could barely type.  It was great having my sous-chef, Daniel Hom there to help support and calm me down.  I wrote every step down so I could just follow them one by one and not forget anything.  I also tried to just have fun.  I had a few props onstage, like a rockstar energy drink and a cocktail so I could be a bit goofy with all the stage drama.

                                     

                                    2. Did it inspire you?   I loved making my entry look different from "Tableau".  It was one of the first times that it was "okay" to not use the default formatting and colors, etc.  I also love being able to get on stage and be one of the only 2 women to ever compete in the contest.  I had won the biz viz qualifier when my daughter was only 4 weeks old, and she was still very little, during the conference.  It was my first time away from her for more than a few hours.  Missing her and dealing with nursing issues while trying to prep for the competition, and attend the conference was really hard, but I loved being able to get a win for Data + Women!

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