#Data15: Pimp My Viz 2: Electric Boogaloo Follow-Up

October 26, 2015
10-26-2015 12-40-14 PM

I had a blast bringing back my weird point-of-view on making dashboards a little more fun to #Data15. Last year, I focused more on custom design and making things look as little like Tableau as possible. This year, I went a little more in the direction of doing some calculations and interactions that are a little more advanced. Let’s take a look at what I did!

But first, here’s the video I couldn’t get to play in my session:

Viz #1- Buzzfeed’s Most Viral Numbers

Ok, ok. Before you get too mad at me, yes. I admit it. I pimped my own viz. But it was out of desparation! All the vizzes submitted to me for Pimp My Viz were already too pimped out! Stop getting so good at Tableau, people! (Actually, don’t stop. It’s awesome.)

So here’s some stuff I did to make this dashboard a little more pimpin’



Viz #2- Price of Gold Over Time

This is a pimped out version of a viz originally by former Tableau intern and wunderkind Quinn Schiller. You may remember him as the badass who figured out how to use pages to make animated gifs in Tableau. In honor of that, GIFs were one of the key features when I made over his Price of Gold dashboard (which has some excellent annotations and storytelling in it!). Here’s what I did:

OMG! A useful application for gifs?!?!?!

You’ve gotta be kitten me!

It’s true! I thought of a useful application for gifs! I know I’m not alone in lamenting that using animation on the Pages shelf in Tableau doesn’t not work once published to Tableau Public or Server. But, we can use gifs to work around this! Check it out:

How is this done? It’s actually pretty simple:

  1. Create the gif. I used Camtasia, which I have for recording training videos, but that’s a pretty hefty piece of software. There’s plenty of free tools to create screen capture GIFs, so pick whichever one works best for you.
  2. Host the gif online (again, Imgure FTW!) and embed it on your dashboard as a web object.
  3. Float the sheet that you are animating on top of the web object. What we are basically doing is a variation on this trick I wrote about last year, to leave your viewers with a message when filters make your vizzes disappear.
  4. Last, we need to create a button to make the viz disappear and show the animated gif behind it. To do this, I created a calculation that equals “Null” for everything. I made a button out of it by creating a sheet, putting the calc on text, and setting a square shape in the background. I edited the text label to say “See/Stop Animation”. I added to my dashboard with a dashboard action that effects the scatter plot on click and where clearing the filter excludes everything. This is what makes the chart disappear and the gif behind it reveal itself.

5 Easy Ways to Pimp Your Viz

To end the session, I gave a rapid fire list of 5 easy ways to Pimp Your Viz. This was based on a blog post I did earlier in the year, but here are those steps again, just if you need a refresher:

  1. Colors. Don’t be satisfied with the default Tableau blue! I like using sites like Colourlovers to choose color palettes that aren’t built into Tableau. I also like that they limit their palettes to 5 colors, which makes you really think about how you are using your color. Ryan Sleeper wrote a pretty fantastic blog post about color a couple years ago that is still a great resource.
  2. Marks Card Magic. Along with changing the color, there’s plenty you can do with the Marks card to pimp out your viz a bit. Make your bars fatter! Add labels! The stuff I did to the bars in the BuzzFeed viz above is a good example of how simple changes on the marks card can make a pretty strong impact when it comes to making a viz look custom.
  3. Add a banner. A good title for your viz is a MUST. And you might as well take that opportunity to make a banner. Banners are great because you can communicate what the theme of your dashboard is and set the tone for what people are about to see. My typical banner strategy is to find an image related to what the dashboard is about, crop it, blur it, and add the title in a custom font. I often use Adobe Illustrator for this, but a few people in the viz design community have confessed to me they just use Powerpoint for this and it gets the job done. For a web based solution where you can create some REALLY gorgeous graphics for your vizzes, I highly recommend Canva. It’s a web based drag-and-drop design tool that’s super intuitive and has stock images built right in for you to use. I actually use it all the time for designing gig posters for my band and am just now starting to use it for viz work. But I have a feeling it’s going to be my go-to from now on.
  4. Clean up the tooltips. SWEET MOTHER OF GOD JUST CLEAN UP YOUR TOOLTIPS, OK?!?! You should NEVER EVER EVER publish a viz with default tooltips. I assure you, they look like unreadable crap 100% of the time. In my session, I said that if you don’t clean up your tooltips, little fairies will fly into your bedroom at night and punch you in the face. I’m not joking. Although, the little fairy might be me in a tutu and fair wings, but I assure you, you’ll get punched. In the face. You don’t want that do you? So just clean up your tooltips, ok?
  5. Thoughtful Interaction. A dashboard without interaction is like pizza without cheese…. an ABOMINATION. Think through how people might want to interact with the data you are presenting them and try to make the order of operations make sense. Make the order that you click things go from left-to-right and top-to-bottom since people in the Western world read that way. Have a friend look at your dashboard and just watch what they try to click on and make those the areas where you put your interaction. The more people play with your viz, the more they’ll remember it!
  6. Finally, let’s wrap this up with some of my favorite tweets about my session.

    Need more pimping? You can also watch the original Pimp My Viz session from TC14 in Seattle and read the followup!

#WatchMeViz Deadline Extended!

October 1, 2015

I want to make sure we have as many amazing dancers as we can have, so I’m extending the deadline to submit #WatchMeViz videos to October 4th! So if you have time this weekend to do some sweet dance moves, please send them to me! Check out some of the current awesome submissions below:






#WatchMeViz – Submit your video!

September 22, 2015

My loyal readers probably saw the last post about chart based dance moves and guessed something was up. Well, you were right. My pal Aaron (who recently started a blog called Veni, Vidi, Vizi) approached me with an idea to do a Tableau based parody of the hit dance craze “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”. Together, we wrote some new lyrics and came up with some dance moves and “Watch Me Viz” was born! The fabulous MC Short Shorts helped out with the backing track:

Now we need your help! We want to put this all together into an awesome music video before TC15 and we need dancers! You can submit videos by hosting them on Dropbox, Google drive, or another file sharing tool and filling out this form.

Of course, to make a video, you are going to need to know the dance moves. Luckily, I made this handy guide. (And yes, an entire wall of my apartment is a giant map. Deal with it.)













And during the “Oooh TC15!” part, you can freestyle. I recommend recreating moves from old episodes of Soul Train for inspiration. Now go get your groove on and send me your videos! I need the videos by October 1st in order to make the video in time for TC15!


August 20, 2015

If you were to come up with a dance move to rep a chart type, what would it be? Here's my box plot move: http://t.co/rVa0IQomf6 #watchmeviz

— Jewel Loree (@jeweloree) August 20, 2015

Send me your best viz dance moves!

Also, I’m still looking for people to send vizzes for Pimp My Viz 2: Electric Boogaloo, so fill out this form with your ugliest viz!


It’s Happening! Pimp My Viz 2: Electric Boogaloo

July 22, 2015

That’s right, dear readers! Back by popular demand, I will once again be pimping vizzes at Tableau Conference! What’s Pimp My Viz, you ask? Well, check out this little teaser video!

You can also watch last year’s session here.

A key component of Pimp My Viz is having vizzes to pimp! That’s why I created this handy submission form. Send me your lackluster vizzes and I’ll make them so shiny and ridiculous it’ll bring a tear to Xzibit’s eye. Submit your viz today!

Data Feed: Inside Airbnb

June 2, 2015

Stumbled upon a pretty fantastic group of Airbnb datasets for Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, NYC, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, and Sydney. You can find them here. Looks like things are spread across a few different tables so some join/blend action will probably be necessary. But on first glance, they look pretty robust. Enjoy!

Pimp My Viz TC14: Now Available for your Viewing Pleasure

April 23, 2015

Great news, everyone! All of the session from Tableau Conference 2014 in Seattle are now online for your viewing pleasure, including my super fun Pimp My Viz presentation. Check it out, learn some cool tips, and get thinking of ideas of vizzes to submit for *hopefully* Pimp My Viz 2015!

Data Feed: Aggressive Actions in Harry Potter

March 25, 2015

Accio data!

Someone on Reddit has compiled all the aggressive actions in the Harry Potter series into a handy spreadsheet and made some well-meaning but overall lackluster pie charts out of it.


Professor McGonagall

Professor McGonagall is unimpressed.


Here’s the data! Do something awesome!

Data Feed: Reliability data for 41000 hard drives

February 9, 2015

Backblaze.com has released a huge dataset of failure rates and other hard drive stats for over 41,000 hard drives. Check it out here!

Pop Viz: What Music Matters Most to KEXP, Revisited

January 15, 2015

Last year, I made a series of visualizations based on playlist data from my favorite local radio station: KEXP. Well, it’s a new year and there’s new data, so here I go again! First, let’s start with the classic viz I made last year. This view shows the top artists, albums, and tracks of the year. The color denotes which DJ played them. You can use the dropdowns to view specific DJs or toggle between artist, album, and track.

Learn About Tableau

Our big winner here was Spoon, not surprising as they released one of the best new albums of 2014. However, DJs must’ve been drawing from their back catalog a bit to get them up to all those plays because their new album was in 5th place when it comes to top albums. The top spot actually went to what was probably my favorite album of the year, “Sun Structures” by Temples.

I mean…that hair + that awesome psychedelic sound….what’s not to love?

By the way, if you look at the top albums and tracks, you’ll often see an asterisk for artist. This is because the DJ assistants at KEXP who input all the playlist data can’t agree if it’s Alt-J or alt-J. Capitalization irregularities actually plagued this whole dataset, so some of the numbers may look a little lower than they should be. Another issue is when bands have song titles with the same name. For example, a track named “Feel” appears to be the second most played song, when in actuality that’s a combination of plays for songs by Bombay Bicycle Club, Ty Segall, Big Star, and a few others. Unfortunately, you can’t use combined fields in parameters in Tableau, so there was no way for me to fix it on this particular dashboard.

The number one song is “Red Eyes” by The War on Drugs. I was especially tickled by the high placement of the song “Queen” by local hero Perfume Genius. This song is amazing and deserves the number spot for the line “No family is safe when I sashay” alone. The video is pretty weird and rad:

The whole album is amazing and I couldn’t help but use intoxicants and lay on the floor and listen to it when I put the vinyl on for the first time.

My new Perfume Genius record is the color of vanilla ice cream. One of my favorite colored vinyl acquisitions yet. The album itself is pretty gorgeous, too.

A photo posted by Jewel Loree (@jeweloree) on

I wanted a couple dashboards that people could go into and make insights about their favorite bands and DJs. First, an artist explorer. You can use the dropdown to choose a couple different artists to compare. There’s a text search, if you don’t want to read through the whole big list. As a starting point, I compare my two favorite Seattle bands, La Luz and TacocaT. They seem to be pretty even in plays.

Learn About Tableau

Next, here’s a dashboard that looks at what DJs like to play. I’ve started out with infamous morning DJ and tastemaker John Richards. Man, that dude loves Strands of Oaks’ newest album. Especially on Tuesday mornings at 6 am. In fact, he actually said himself it was his favorite album of the year. It’s pretty fun to click on one of the artists on the right and see what time they are played the most.

Learn About Tableau

This year, I really wanted to do something with the top 90.3 albums of the year. KEXP had a form up on their website in December for their listeners to vote for their five favorite 2014 album releases of the year. They tallied up the votes and ranked the albums and did a fun countdown at the end of December. I wanted to compare the ranks by listeners to how often those albums were actually played. That’s how I got this nifty quadrant chart:

Learn About Tableau

I’ve divided the chart into 4 sections. “High Listener Rank, High DJ Plays” means that the listeners and DJs were in agreement that these albums fucking rocked and should be considered to top honors. The listeners and DJs are also in agreement in the “Low Listener Rank, Low DJ Plays” quadrant. The interesting stuff is really in the other two quadrants. I noticed that in “Low Listener Rank, High DJ Plays” there are a few more local bands and just generally less known bands. This section is showing our taste-makers at work. I’d bet that a lot of people voted for these albums after hearing them first on KEXP. The “High Listener Rank, Low DJ Plays” section is interesting because it’s filled with indie favorites: The Afghan Whigs, Jenny Lewis, Aphex Twin… these are some heavy-hitters. These are all pretty well-known artists outside the college rock scene, which is maybe why KEXP plays them a little less than some other bands.

Last up, I just wanted to make some quick points of things I thought would be interesting to know. For example, did you know that the artist with the most distinct albums played on KEXP was Johnny Cash? It probably helps that he made a buttload of them. Click through these story points if you want to see more stuff like that.

Learn About Tableau

I think the third story point is especially interesting. I filtered the list to only show artists that only have one song played on KEXP and than sorted it by number of plays. So you can think of it as the ultimate 1-hit wonders on KEXP in 2014.The song that ended up in the top spot on that list was actually pretty cool:

Dig into those dashboards if you feel so inclined. And be sure to tweet me and interesting tidbits you find in there!

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