Tableau Tips

Tableau & Data Visualization Strategies from Ryan Sleeper

Tableau Tips 2018-02-13T14:45:27+00:00
1501, 2019

Dashboard Gauge 5: How to Make Indicators with Custom Shape Palettes

By | January 15th, 2019|Categories: Tableau Chart Types, Tableau Tips|

How to make gauges with custom shape palettes in Tableau FeatureThis is the fifth and final post in a series on dashboard gauges in Tableau. To this point, we’ve covered bullet graphs, rounded gauges, custom background images, and ‘stock ticker’ gauges. For this final installment, we’ll have some fun and use custom shapes that dynamically change based on performance. Like the stock ticker gauge, most shapes are not the best choice for visualizing magnitude, but just like sometimes when you need something other than a bar chart, sometimes you need a gauge other than a bullet graph. I like the custom shape indicators I’m sharing because they: (1) immediately and intuitively convey performance, (2) have a minimalist design, and (3) provide a starting point that can be linked to deeper analysis. This post will show you how to: (1) find and format custom shapes for your dashboard, (2) install those shapes in your Tableau Repository so you can map them to your data, (3) write a calculation to dynamically change the shape being displayed based on performance, and (4) use dashboard actions and/or the viz in tooltip feature to link to deeper analysis.

801, 2019

Dashboard Gauge 4: How to Make a ‘Stock Ticker’ in Tableau

By | January 8th, 2019|Categories: Tableau Chart Types, Tableau Tips|

How to Make a Stock Ticker Gauge in Tableau FeatureThis is the fourth in a five-part series on dashboard gauges in Tableau. For future updates, subscribe to my mailing list. The next gauge I will show you how to build in Tableau was inspired by the stock tickers seen on major news networks and stock portfolio apps. The visualization typically features the positive or negative change of a stock or index, preceded by an up or down colored triangle, and are occasionally enclosed by a colored rectangle to reinforce the change. You may not initially think of this as a gauge, but in this series, gauges are defined as chart types that show progress to a goal or comparison point. While stock tickers aren’t the best choice for visualizing the magnitude of a change, I like them because they: (1) clearly indicate a positive or negative performance (2) have a minimalist design (3) are encoded by both color and shape; an approach to double-encoding that is colorblind friendly. If you’re looking to try a slightly different approach, the stock ticker gauge is a good alternative to callout numbers across the top of your dashboards. This post will show you how to use Gantt charts in a unique way and the up (▲) and down (▼) alt code characters to create a ‘stock ticker’ in Tableau.

1812, 2018

Year in Review / Top 10 Tableau Tutorials of 2018

By | December 18th, 2018|Categories: Tableau Tips, Thoughts|

Ryan Sleeper Top 10 2018 Year in Review FeatureThank 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.

1112, 2018

Dashboard Gauge 3: 2 Ways to Map a Custom Background Image in Tableau

By | December 11th, 2018|Categories: Tableau Chart Types, Tableau Tips|

How to Make Custom Gauges with Background Images in Tableau FeatureThis 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.

412, 2018

Dashboard Gauge 2: How to Make Rounded Bars and Scales in Tableau

By | December 4th, 2018|Categories: Tableau Chart Types|

How to Make Rounded Gauges in Tableau FeatureThis is the second in a five-part series on dashboard gauges in Tableau. For future updates, subscribe to our mailing list. While bullet graphs are the optimal type of ‘gauge’ in Tableau because of their efficient use of space and their ability to show values past 100%, there are other engaging ways to display the progress toward a goal or prior period. If your primary objective is to communicate how much progress you’ve made toward hitting the 100% mark, and you don’t mind not seeing performance past the goal, you can stop the scale at 100%. This lends itself to some interesting design possibilities including the oft-maligned, donut chart. Donut charts are criticized for inefficiently using dashboard real estate, stopping at 100%, and making it difficult for users to accurately assess progress to goal. This post will show you how to essentially flatten out a donut chart, which will solve two of these three deficiencies. Plus, I will show you a hack that allows you to round bars and the background scales. This is not an out-the-box design in Tableau, but I think it adds a touch of engagement to gauges.