About Ryan Sleeper

Ryan Sleeper is founder and principal of Playfair Data. He is a data visualization designer, author, speaker, trainer, and consultant specializing in Tableau. Ryan is a current Tableau Zen Master, 2013 Tableau Iron Viz Champion, author of the 2015 Tableau Public Visualization of the Year, and author of Practical Tableau (O'Reilly).

3 Ways to Create Charming Crosstabs in Tableau

3 Ways to Make Charming Crosstabs in Tableau FeatureThis is the third in a five-part series on getting the most out of text in Tableau. For future updates, subscribe to my mailing list. I’ve explained before that a spreadsheet is not a data visualization because it does not take advantage of any pre-attentive attributes that will help you make sense of the data. Alas, many stakeholders continue to ask for crosstabs (text tables), either so they can do their own manipulation to the data or just because they feel more comfortable seeing the raw numbers. Well, if I have to make crosstabs, I intend to make the best damn crosstabs the world has ever seen! That’s why for the first time, I’m letting the genie out of the bottle and sharing 3 tips for making your text tables more effective and engaging in Tableau. In this post, we’ll cover how to increase the number of columns in a Tableau crosstab, how to make your text tables as flexible as possible, thoughts on maximizing the data-ink ratio, and how to make custom table headers.

By | 2018-09-25T11:22:29+00:00 September 25th, 2018|Tableau Tips|

How to Make Automatic Insights in Tableau

How to Make Automatic Insights in Tableau FeatureThis is the second in a five-part series on getting the most out of text in Tableau. For future updates, subscribe to my mailing list. I’ve illustrated before how to add custom integrated insights to a Tableau dashboard; a feature that does not come out-of-the-box in the software. This is an important prescriptive tactic that helps explain your insights and actionable recommendations. But what if you could automate those insights? Well, just about any calculation can be computed in Tableau. The results of these calculations can then be combined with text to provide automatic insights to you and your audience. In this post, we will reverse engineer a Tableau Public visualization to show how automatic insights are created, I’ll share how to concatenate text and computed string results to automatically spell out full sentences in Tableau, and we’ll use level of detail expressions to create an automatic insight that compares the performance of a specific dimension member to a benchmark.

By | 2018-09-18T11:48:21+00:00 September 18th, 2018|Tableau Tips|

An Introduction to String Calculations in Tableau

Introduction to Tableau String Calculations FeatureThis is the first in a five-part series on getting the most out of text in Tableau. For future updates, subscribe to my mailing list. When you think of calculated fields in Tableau, you likely think of calculating numbers first, but Tableau’s 26 different string functions provide almost infinite applications for computing text as well. Perhaps the reason we don’t always think to create calculated fields with text in Tableau is because SQL is typically a better option for doing such manipulations. After all, I always say, “just because you can do something in Tableau does not mean that you should.” That being said, there are some very good reasons to create string calculations in Tableau. Tableau acts as an excellent proof of concepting tool where you can test out your approaches on the fly before making them a more permanent part of your ETL process. If you would like to learn how Tableau and SQL can work well together, I encourage you to check out the new series from my friend, Ken Flerage. In the meantime, this post will give you an introduction to string calculations in Tableau and show you how to test segmentations before writing them in SQL.

By | 2018-09-11T05:56:06+00:00 September 11th, 2018|Tableau Fundamentals|

Dashboard Element 5: White Space

Dashboard Element 5 White Space FeatureThis is the final post in a five-part series on my favorite Tableau dashboard elements. For earlier installments, see the current versus comparison index callout, parameterized scatter plot, signature line with data status alert, and global filters tab. The next favorite dashboard element I will share is a little less tangible because – well -- it’s sort of invisible. I’m talking about white space or negative space; an important design element that should be considered in the context of your data visualization. While there is no ink in white space, its use can make or break how your work is perceived and utilized. White space provides the benefits of (1) helping you as the dashboard author prioritize content, (2) helping your end user focus their attention during their analysis, and (3) adding some professional design polish which will lend itself to better credibility with your audience. This post will show you three different tactics for improving the white space in your Tableau dashboards.

By | 2018-08-28T11:10:26+00:00 August 28th, 2018|Tableau Tips|

Announcing Playfair Data TV: An Online Tableau Learning Platform

Announcing Playfair Data TV Ryan SleeperI’m excited to share the launch of my latest project: Playfair Data TV. Playfair Data TV is an online learning platform that includes Tableau video tutorials across eight tracks. At launch, there are 26 videos - totaling over 3 hours of training - spanning fundamentals, chart types, dashboards, technical features, advanced topics, and tips. New videos will be added every month following the beta period (ending 9/30/2018). We’ve invested a lot into making this the best resource it can be. Members receive exclusive access to every full-length, high-quality video tutorial as well as their own dashboard to keep track of their bookmarked lessons. Playfair Data TV offers monthly subscriptions that can be cancelled any time or lifetime memberships that will provide the member access to anything added to the platform in the future. Note that if you plan to attend one of my live training events, a lifetime membership is included with your ticket.

By | 2018-08-21T10:52:13+00:00 August 21st, 2018|Tableau Tips|