Thank you for your support in 2018. This time of year is always a time of reflection for me, and one consistent theme I’m grateful for - and which I’ve come to realize is the single biggest-driving force behind my career - is you: the community. Your support has not only inspired me, it has made it possible for me to grow personally. You have forced me to sharpen my skills by teaching and challenged me to provide better solutions. So Thank You. Each year, I ask how could the next possibly be better, but 2018 included more huge updates: (1) I rebranded my analytics consulting agency, Ryan Sleeper LLC, to Playfair Data, (2) we launched Playfair Data TV, a premium online Tableau video training resource, (3) my book Practical Tableau was published, and (4) I had the opportunity to speak at 8 Tableau user groups across the US, Canada, and England. And, of course, I released more content! 41 blog posts and 50 videos to be exact. As a small token of my appreciation, I’m sharing my top ten posts and some statistics from my blog. My hope is that this content helps you in your Tableau journey, and that my observations provide some insight into the current state of the Tableau / analytics community. I’ll close the post by previewing even more announcements coming in 2019.
This is the third in a five-part series on dashboard gauges in Tableau. For future updates, subscribe to my mailing list. To this point in the series, I’ve shown you my favorite type of gauge with bullet graphs and a way to round gauges when your primary objective is to track progress to 100%. In the next example, I will show you how to make a gauge with any image. I learned this trick from Lindsey Poulter in her visualization, Best States to Raise Children. Downloading Tableau Public visualizations and reverse engineering them is one of the best ways to pick up new techniques. In the visualization, Lindsey draws an arrow over a custom sequential color palette to communicate performance across five different categories. In this post, I’ll show you how to make a gauge out of a custom background image for a company that is interested in viewing individual responses to a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. The following approach is useful any time you want to customize how a gauge looks with the image of your choosing.
Tableau set actions are a new (as of version 2018.3) type of dashboard action that will unlock new user experiences by allowing you to dynamically control which dimension members are included in a set. Some of my favorites that have already been figured out include How to Highlight with Color by Matt Chambers, How to Change Dimensions by Lindsey Poulter, How to Make a Cross-Highlight by Rody Zakovich, and How to Drilldown in a Single Sheet by Ann Jackson, just to name a few. A general thread that I’ve noticed between the innovative applications of set actions is they’re often used to make existing dashboards and tutorials better, and I am no exception. I’ve shown you before how to dynamically group the top N vs everything else using a parameter. This is a user experience I like because it reduces the cognitive load on my end user, making it easier for them to consume the view. In this post, I will make this experience even better by using set actions to allow my end user to choose the top N by simply clicking on the dimension members on a chart.
One of the features announced at Tableau Conference 2018 that I am most excited about is parameter actions. This feature will unlock a lot of flexibility that will provide better opportunities to design your user experiences and transfer control of an analysis from yourself to your end users. But did you know this feature is already available in the form of a Tableau dashboard extension called Parameter Actions? In this post, I’ll be sharing one of my favorite ways to improve the user experience of a line graph by allowing users to choose which date part, or granularity, is being visualized (i.e. day, week, month, year). Then we’ll make that user experience even better by using Tableau’s Parameter Actions extension, which is available as of Tableau Desktop 2018.2. The dashboard extension will allow us to create a seamless, web-like experience that will allow our end users to change a date part by simply clicking on a letter!
I recently received a great question from a Twitter connection, and I figured I would share the solution here in case it helps anybody else. They were trying to display four decimal places when the measure value on the view was less than one, but only two decimal places when the measure value was greater than one. This was a brainteaser because, by default, Tableau limits you to one number format per measure. I loved the concept though because I’m a big believer in maximizing the data-ink ratio and the extra decimal places could be considered redundant data ink. My first instinct was to dynamically format the numbers with parameters, but this technique only works for controlling the prefix and suffix of each different number type. Instead, this post will show you two alternative approaches that allow you to control the prefix, suffix, and/or the number of decimal places when you are trying to display two (or even three!) number formats for the same measure in Tableau.