1. I am trying to show data points like in the attached screenshot which is what Tableau calls a highlight table. Personally I like this presentation as I can clearly see two things at once: a.) that chairs and phones have the most sales (because they are the darkest in the vertical column in 2017 and in prior years) and both of these have grown over the years (because they have been getting darker year after year). I can also see that binders have brown, but machines have gone up and down from year to year. Plus, I can see the actual values in case I need them. So to me, in a small amount of space, I have quickly consumed a lot of insight. However, my boss doesn't really like this presentation. He kept asking what the scaling is and I had to explain that the "$105K for phones in 2017 was the largest amount of any sub category in any year" which he found not intuitive. He expected to see it more of a ranking within a column or row but not this "matrix ranking" type of look that I have here. Rather than try to force my opinion, would this be intuitive to you and more importantly, what is a better visualization for this? A simple line graph is the best for "time", but this would be 18 different lines on one chart or 18 different line charts one after another. I suppose I could do a line for each of the top 5 and then an "all others", but I really like being able to see some of the lower trends. I just want to make sure I'm not missing something that is a better alternative that is more appropriate.
2. What exactly is this even called? In Tableau it is listed as a highlight table, but isn't this more commonly known as a "heat map" making Tableau's "heat map" being something else? This is more just curiosity...