Quick User Guide on Your Dashboard – updated.

 

It’s the small things that help our users interpret the dashboards that we make, at the end of the day everyone is here to produce a clear dashboard so the end user can make direct data driven decisions.

 

After recently attending a #Tableau user group where Alberto Cario was talking, he mentioned the theory of users understand a dashboard in the first 3 seconds is kind of false. They do need to read it a little bit to gage the full capacity and answer questions. This stuck with me as I went back to the office and I kept asking myself what more can I do to help…
I found this to not always be the case, no matter how simple your pages can be and that he did have a point. I recently built a dashboard for an X number of users that had never seen Tableau before, let alone heard of it. So everything was new and shiny for them – I gave a week or so for trial and feedback to help make the users journey as best as possible and for them to get the full functionality out of it. Along with training calls and a hand out guide, I thought it was a good idea to make a Quick User Guide on the front of my dashboard report and wanted to share.

 

Here is an example

Quick user Guide exmaple - Blog

This is a very basic example, and a lot of you may already be implementing this practice in your work – but imagine what more you can do with this as a starting point for your users, hopefully your brain is ticking and a light bulb moment happened.

Here is a list of other additions

  • Actions to certain parts – like a contents page
  • More descriptive text
  • Definitions
  • Filters on the front that work for the whole dashboard
  • Instructions
  • Dates
  • Commentary for your quarterly / annual report

Pay it forward and spread the word.
R.

UPDATE


After looking at other options of user guides, this below is now on the front of every dashboard that we build.

You can get the idea and tailor it to your needs, I ensure I put examples on the front of each page that is relevant to the dashboard they are about to look at.

Hope you find it useful.

Quick user guide example 2

 

Data Discovery – #TFFEMEA

image1

 

Here is my #TFFEMEA session today – turned into a blog for you to catch up / take from / read.

Topic – Data Discovery
(Be the change that you want to see).

So you are heading to a new client, or a new sector who wish to use Tableau. Or not even that, you have been assigned a new project at work and they want existing reports built in Tableau and you have no idea where to begin…

I’ve thought about this a lot, and it is one of my favorite parts about the Tableau journey. I feel as if it’s not widely spoken about because you don’t end up showing pretty graphs at the end, but the journey of how that pretty graph got there is actually quite important.

In a business situation you might be limited of what you can and can’t do with the chain above you but i’ve listed out some key questions that inevitably might help your decisions and the process a lot soother from the off set.

I have 5 main questions, a freebie

Here are my top questions I ask to help on the data discovery

  1. What do you want and why?
  2. Where does the data come from?
  3. Who will be viewing the data / report?
  4. Where do you want this stored?
  5. Who looks after it for maintenance and upgrades?

For free) Documentation

What do you want?

Firstly – what is it you or they want? They as in those requesting reports. You can look at the requests and ask what is the value of this report?

Am I making it because you are used to having this report every Friday, what does it actually tell you?

If I don’t do it what will happen?

I mean, try to use your time to see what benefits this report has and are different people requesting the same numbers? Could you maybe collaborate a bunch of reports in to one mass report that everyone can use applying different filters to slice the data in multiple ways?

The reports you are producing are there other ways to do it to cut down manual intervention or stop human error?

It’s kind of getting out of being a reporting factory and doing some discovery of your own.

Where does the data come from?

Exactly what it says, where does the data come from?

So normally when I have been on client sites and asked to produce a report I always come back with a list of questions that the client isn’t ready to answer. It might be best to save some of these during a checkpoint of your work perhaps? These answers will help sooner rather than later as it will determine the development of your report.

Is it huge Excel manipulation?

A number of different databases connected in to one to pull data from?

How often does this data refresh?

Do you want a historic record from the previous refresh?

What exclusions are in this data, do we exclude cancelled jobs or exclude NULL values?

Data manipulation is quite a big strain when you don’t have tools like Alteryx to use, i find many a times going to client sites and having a number of Excel spreadsheets and them wanting it turned in to one Tableau report – and your mind explodes.

Recently i unioned 18 sheets of an Excel report in to one Tableau Dashboard and the client had a hallelujah moment. They didn’t know that could be done, and its saved a number of manual hours of cutting and pasting from one place to another. I was able to solve this issue or help by using the questions above.

Who will be viewing the data?


Who is it? Is it the team you are working with, another team or is it high level exec reports?

Exec reports would they mostly be full of BANs (Big Ass Numbers) – the exec level doesn’t need the details, they are mostly interested in just the figures.

Therefore is it sensible to have a more detailed version for the team so if any questions come back, they can easily be explored.

You could have an overview page for your desired audience, finding out who will view this report from the start will help you plan your design.

If showcasing in meetings, do you live bits out on purpose so you can cater for questions to be asked and then show the attendees on the fly and problem solve there and then. This situations are great for winning over a culture change.

So you have your report requirements, you know the build up of it and who will be viewing the reports. You can happily go away and start plugging data, revising data, and building dashboards. Although as you progress and start to save data sources you realise they are either all stored in your Tableau Repository or desktop (mostly for me working on client sites) So i like to have a few checkpoints along the way of my build before getting to far ahead. During this check point I would find out

Where do you want everything to be stored?

Is it going to be a shared folder / drive? Are these data sources going straight to your Tableau Server?

I mean it all depends what kind of data sources you are using, I mostly have to work with Excel on client sites and i save these down to a shared drive or move them once the report is built during the hand over.

Who will look after this report?

During the handover if there is one, i try to find out who will be looking after this report gong forward?

Is it me (if in a permanent role)?

Or is it Billy sat next to me?

Does he know what he needs to do?

So here I would sit with Billy and go through the report to make sure he understands, take notes, drive it yourself and let me watch. Make sure the handover is as detailed as possible. Also – get Billy to send you an email to confirm he has sat with you and gone through it. It might stop that discussion if Billy tends to slip and says ‘I’ve never been shown how to use it’

Often people are asked to produce reports in Tableau and then told to move on to the next one – however, it is always good to get a clear idea who will be looking after the maintenance and updating of the previous reports.

Hopefully you have a whole heap of questions from this that you can utilize in your next build. I wanted to add a freebie tip in that I use in absolutely everything.

Documentation.

I document everything, from the absolute word go and to the minor details. I think this is a hugely important step for any report building process when it comes to business related cases.

It is an endless exercise and very mundane but, I cannot stress enough how important this is.

At a recent client site I was working on, they had nothing documented. Didn’t know where data sources were coming from, the wrong extracts were connected to the wrong dashboards, no one knew how figures got anywhere. It was a mess – you can ask the three different people the same question and get 3 figures in return. By documenting this will stop any confusion, and hopefully arguments of whos number is right / wrong.

We all want one single version of the truth when it comes to numbers. It is always the case Finance has a different number to what you’re workin with in sales.

If it is documented, and calculations are laid out at the start, then when you have that number discrepancy conversation based on a calculation  of how you got that % that was signed off two months ago – you know who will win that convo? You will. I always like it when people ask me how I obtained that figure and i can go straight back to them with x plus y.

Sometimes in my work as a consultant, i have to over document because i am leaving the site so I wont be around to ask questions later. I document things such as filters, why have I excluded this, or why have we alias this? Why I connected this data source instead of that data source etc….Always leave a paper trail…..

You might be opening the door for a bigger workload, but if you are anything like my brain and like investigating or problem solving then this work could benefit you more. You’ll learn along the way and could make a difference. Don’t just be a reporting factory or number monkey – be that change.

What is my message for the end?

Go away from the norm a little bit,  experiment, don’t be afraid.

 

P.S. Billy is a made up person where no Billy’s have relation to this post.

 

Relaunch of #BrumTUG

Screen Shot 2018-02-02 at 10.27.45

Last night we saw the first edition of #BrumTUG for 2018 and what a way to begin. With such great turn out, goody bags, pizza, wine, and some great sessions.

The venue was excellent for location, size and hospitality – a big thank you to The University of Law – Micheal Howkins and Jon Godden.

The agenda was as follows

1800 – 1810 Registration (pizza)

1810 – 1825 Opening Words – Meet the team!

1825 – 1845 Customer Story – Clive Benford – Head of Analytics Corporate Programme for JLR

1845 – 1905 Book Club

1905 – 1950 Hackathon – Birmingham Host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games

1950 – 2010 Present back Vizzes

2010 – 2045 Looking forward and Networking session / Social drinks at local pub

We opened with myself Tim and Ali doing a short introduction about our Tableau journey, who we are and what are our favourite things in Tableau. It was nice to learn a little bit more about the fellow team members, Ali wanted to be a marine biologist and Tim plays with playdoh more than Tableau – 2 young children.

We had Clive Benford from JLR talk about dashboards, and what is used to create the dashboard getting to the final point. It’s not only about looking great it’s also about the journey that he uses to get there. Exploring the data, analysing and answering key business question.

At #BrumTUG we decided to start a book club, not your normal book club where you have to go away and purchase the book as that could get quite costly. I mean go ahead if you so wish, but we wont make you buy them. This is more of our reviews of data analytics, design and visualisation books that we come across throughout our career. Also we love to have feedback or recommendations on books to review and showcase! This instalment was the well know Big Book of Dashboard by Steve Wrexler, Andy Cotgreave , and Jeffrey Shaffer. Tim did an overview of what is detailed in the book, the best bits he found useful and his favourite chapters. All in all a very good read, look out for the next book club listing!

IMG_2499

Until now time was running great, we had a few technical errors but nothing we could solve or improvise on the night. It was time for Hackathon – dun dun duuunnn which Ali led. We did a show of hands and it was pretty much a full house of Tableau users! Round of applause, pat on the back. There was 1 guy who hadn’t used Tableau but he was extremely keen to learn and get stuck in with his table. Everyone mixed in together to build some vizzes based on the Commonwealth games which Birmingham is the host city in 2022. It was great to see strangers working together to achieve the same goal, as well as sharing ideas, tips and solving problems. I have screen grabbed all the vizzes below for your preview – do take a look and you can find some of them on Tableau public.

Time was up. I had gone round to see / help/ advised and asked if people wanted to show back their vizzes – no pressure. We had a number of people keen to get up front and discuss why they choose the graphs they did, colours and layouts followed by some great constructive feedback from the community. Everyone took the comments on board and agreed about some changes, others didn’t need changes at all but the community were interested in how they got to the end Viz. We spent some time talking through how to add actions to images for instance, or how you can add a bit of math to the data and completely change the layout. Everyone started with the same simple data set and made some amazing visualisations – especially in the short amount of time we had.

It was great to meet everyone, and I look forward to seeing you at the next.

R

IMG_2493

 

Links for vizzes are caption on the images above. Credit to those that took part.

Tableau Assistant Directory

New to #Tableau? Or old with Tableau and you want to ramp up your vizzes? Here i’ve made a directory of free websites and tools you can use to enhance your work. Some require a sign up so do have your email and PW at the ready. You’ll find a variety of icons, images, text, shapes and colours! What more could you possibly need?

 

How to use this Directory

 

I’ve ordered it alphabetically by what the sites do, for example, graphics or colours. Hopefully that will help you to navigate through and get you to the right site for what you need.
A
B
C
Colour Codes html-color-codes.info
Colour pallets –  http://coolors.co  
Capital letters https://capitalizemytitle.com 
D
Data Sets – playground of data https://data.world
E
F
Fonts – https://wordmark.it
Fontshttp://fontmap.ideo.com
G
Gifs – https://giphy.com/create/gifmaker
H
Headers – Canva https://www.canva.com
I
Icons – Nounproject  https://thenounproject.com
Icons – TheFlatIcon https://www.flaticon.com
Icons – IconMonster https://iconmonstr.com
Images  – ShutterShock https://www.shutterstock.com
Images – Unsplash https://unsplash.com
Images – Pixbay https://pixabay.com
J
K
L
M
Mapping – Custom maps using MapBox https://www.mapbox.com
N
O
Other – http://makerbook.net
P
Preparing https://infoactive.co/data-design/ch07.html
Q
R
S
T
Title Capitalization Tool https://capitalizemytitle.com/
U
Unicode Characters and Shapes for alerts http://jrgraphix.net/r/
V
W
Words – WordArt in Microsoft
X
Y
Z
Thanks to the community for their help with suggestions, if you find anymore do get in touch so we can build it up.

———————–

Want to find out where you can find a directory of Podcasts? Check out this blog here by Mark Edwards he has created a list of Podcast to subscribe and listen too for all your data dreams and desires! ,http://pointsofviz.com/the-dataviz-podcast-directory/
In addition Jeff Plattner has made a directory based on “how to do this” you’ll find an excellent list of tips n tricks from people across the community – be sure to check this out https://jeffsdatavizjourney.com/2018/01/30/tableau-tips-index-line-charts/

 

Contributors of sites

AlexDixon Mike Cisneros   Sarah Bartlett  David Pires Charlie Hutchinson Andrew Lang  Rebecca Roland

Catching up with #MakeOverMonday

It was November 2nd 2017 and I was sat staring out the window thinking about how fast this year has gone, and that it is Christmas soon! I then started to ponder on all the Tableau work I had done this year, and what I had actually achieved through work life. Yes I moved to a better job, went to both conferences, gained more experience in training others with Tableau, got some social life back and attempted (hopefully pass by the time this publishes) the Tableau Desktop QA exam! I thought I hadn’t really done much Tableau-ing for myself though, not enough anyways. Mostly on client sites replicating excel, or training others to use Tableau – I hadn’t dabbled enough for my liking or learnt enough.

So I decided on this date – with 7 weeks left of this year (week 44) that I would try to complete all of the #MakeOverMonday’s ! It’s a lot. I had started off the year pretty good and did the first few weeks between 1 – 10 missing (7&8). So hey what’s 35 odd by this point? I had to make a plan and stay organised so I wouldn’t get confused with data sets and weeks. Throughout the year I had some half completed #MoM where I downloaded the dataset, started to build something and either got distracted by work or gave up because of seeing everyone else’s work. So this also helped in my favour and the task seemed like it would be okay, challenging but achievable.

Rules.

I would only stick to the original rules of 1 hour in each makeover – going old school. I didn’t have the time to spend hours on end creating amazing visuals. But, I did have the time to spare an hour even if it meant learning 1 new thing – I have 30 odd to go – so ideally that is 30 small new learnings to achieve.

Some are very dull and boring – I had a huge number to get though and not a lot of time, but it’s practice and any practice is good practice.

Getting Organised.

Super organised. I wrote it all down, downloaded every data set and put them in an individual file. I actually learnt a lot about using my MAC too during this process, drag and drop is a beauty. Who knew.

How I felt.

Like what am I doing? Why am I setting myself up for either a lot of work and pain to even a fail. But, I felt like it was something good to challenge myself and catch up. I wanted to apply a lot of the charts, formatting and images etc that I saw throughout the year from the community. It was quite a daunting thought. They say if you don’t scare yourself once a day are you even living? Well I was slightly scared of this.

Weekly Updates.

November 6th – Weeks 7, 8, 11, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 44, 45

November 13th – Weeks 46, – took this week off this as my husband had a blood clot in his leg (insert face palm emoji), he is okay now.

November 20th Weeks 47, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

November 27th – Had a week off for holiday exploring Ireland

December 4th – TBC???

Struggles.

I found that I didn’t know what the story or the data set was about, so I had to spend some time re-reading the web links Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray had posted on the #MakeOverMonday website – I didn’t have twitter posts and conversations to follow and get ideas from the community on the go. I also had to make a lot of cross tabs to see what was in the data, using it as a reference to go back and forth between sheets to understand what was in it. Tableau Public was a big help to find previous work to learn from, you know the famous saying ‘Steal like an artist‘ – all credits below don’t worry. 

Lessons Learnt.

So not all of the MakeOverMondays will look fabulous, because I took this opportunity to try out different things. On the weeks I struggled to find a story, I would use the data to concentrate on something else. For instance on week 18 – Sydney Ferry Trips – the data was quite sparing. So I took the time to learn about making images transparent, and learning about doing funky things with Text boxes such as the 3D effect.

I also took the time on some weeks to re do a few of the new charts I learnt throughout the year. Such as week 7 – at #TC17 I learnt about Sunburst charts – so I recreated it to practice.

During the challenge I picked up new charts along the way too – such as Rody Zakovich – he taught me how to make a Step chart, again I used this in the makeovers to show myself ‘hey I get it, I can do this one too’.

Week 46 I played around with the Bins function – I originally let Tableau do the automated calculation but then thought what happens if I changed it to 0.50 – it showed the breakdown of before 50 and after 50. I know you might think it’s simple, but I was just playing around with different numbers to see what it returned and then try to understand it better.

Week 21 was fun, I searched in Tableau Public for a random chart under the title of the Viz and found a pyramid – So I reversed engineered and recreated that. Credit goes to Tushar for that one! Learnt a lot about Table calcs that day.

I practiced with some LOD’s in a few of the vizzes, basic LOD but tried to find use cases for them, as well as other calculations. Think I have pretty much nailed IF statements throughout this process which is great.

Still haven’t nailed that pesky sankey chart tho. :-/

During /Afterwards 

It turns out to be a pretty useful challenge, I found myself in work situations needing inspiration or a calculation / idea. And I would reference my own work to figure these out! Many of times I would think oh that IF statement would work in real time as well as this MoM.
It’s almost done – I can almost breath. 

Total Vizzes completed in this challenge = 21

Did I pass my exam? NOT YET…..

 

 

Credit so far

 

Back Pocket Full of Charts

I always like to watch and learn how people use Tableau and build charts, so i decided I would start a collection of them. I currently have a workbook full of a number of charts that are listed below, most of these are from exploring Tableau or what you pick up in the early stages of your journey like bar charts, line charts etc. However, as I have grown with Tableau knowledge I have learnt a set number of skills, a particular set of skills (name that movie). I’ve gone from normal maps of the States to now using Hex Maps! And from Heat maps to Waffle Charts.

Where do I get the charts from?

I occasionally trawl through twitter with the hashtag Tableau – to find people’s work or trawl through the oh so famous Tableau Public! Here I find a healthy amount of dashboards with charts I’ve not seen before, I would download them and try to reverse engineer using the sales data set, making notes along the way in the comments box in desktop. If I can’t figure it out – then they don’t make it into my collection until I do. Sometimes I go to the author and ask for tips, other times I sit there and wait until a lightbulb moment – or ask the community.

When it comes to charts that need other data files to help build such like the Waffle and Hex map – as painful as it is sometimes I like to look at the excel file from the previous workbook and then build my own! It helps with the understanding and memorising of how it all goes together, and why it works that way. I keep the excel files stored safely to call upon once I need to build them again.

List of Charts Completed

  1. Bar Charts
  2. Crosstab
  3. Line Chart
  4. Maps
  5. Pie Chart
  6. Dual Line Chart
  7. Line over Bar Chart
  8. Sparklines
  9. Area Chart
  10. Highlight Table
  11. Donut Charts
  12. Waffle Chart
  13. Hex Map
  14. Lollie Pop Chart
  15. Dumbbell Chart
  16. Sunburst Chart
  17. Scatter Plot
  18. Sankey Chart – Working in progress

List of Charts to complete (ever growing)

  1. Marimekko Chart
  2. Box and Whisper Plot
  3. Radial Tree Chart
  4. Histogram Chart
  5. Gantt Chart

Not only do I keep a catalog of charts, I also create a dashboard that has lots of practice formatting on it. Including lines, colours, fonts, layouts etc – this also will get updated on my hard copy as time goes on. 

If you do this as well, or know of some other charts I should have a go at – tell me! Add to my ever growing list and expand the brain. Yes they might be sloppy in formatting but the foundations are there as a reminder. 

Here is my workbook on Tableau Public

#Data17 – nailed it.

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 20.04.37

Post #Data17 Vegas!

We all love to write about what we learnt and liked during the conference and it is great reading them all. I’d thought I would share before it becomes a distant memory and i’ll forget all the details to tell about my experience – it’s nice to see it from many different views.

 Conference Overall

The conference was just great, the organisation and sheer size of it to accommodate us all was planned out so well. Food was great, lines weren’t that long of a queue, plenty of drinks available to keep hydrated – sure it was a lot of fizzy pop, maybe have bottles of water instead of a tiny cup from a machine. But, you couldn’t fault anything for the 14,000 of us (estimated). After the recent events that happened in Vegas, we all still felt safe and carried on stronger than ever. We had #Data17Donates which was beautiful to watch strangers come together to give back to the Vegas community. To kick the conference off we had a minute silence to acknowledge the tragedy and show respect to those that had fallen, been injured and the many of emergency services & wider community that helped. The Conference also had started a campaign fundraising for the National Compassion Fund which raise over $120,500!! I mean wow come on.

What session did I go too?

  1. Spotify Exploratory Visual Analysis (EVA)
  2. 50 Tips battle session with AK and JS
  3. Stylish, Seamless formatting
  4. Tableau Devs on stage
  5. Alteryx: The thrill of solving, first-hand: Hands-on analytics lab
  6. Getting Vizzy with it: Advanced Visulisation Types
  7. Deployment tips for Tableau Server
  8. Server tools 101: Introduction to Tableau server tools
  9. Data Duo: Your vibe attracts your tribe
  10. Key notes -Tableau vision and Keynote Freaknomics

As mentioned in my previous blog about what we’re looking forward too: (http://bit.ly/2wZBxQQ), I tried to ensure the sessions I attended were useful to pick up new skills or have hands on training face to face. I had to sacrifice a lot of sessions that are also very useful and catch up on line, so i made sure the balance was right. I really enjoyed ‘Getting Vizzy with it: Advanced Visulisation Types’ – I knew the first batch of charts already but it was good to see them being built a different way to what I do. We are all aware Tableau has a ton of different ways to do the same thing. The second half of this sessions is where I learnt how to build Sankey Chart, and Starburst wheels! Watch out Tableau public with the new knowledge of some fancy charts.

 The Keynotes were particularly good, especially the Devs on stage and Freakonomics! Learning about all the new features that Tableau are working on is exciting, and majority (if not all) is what we needed two versions ago.

Freakonomics – well they were hilarious. The Turkey Insemination story is probably one of the weirdest most funniest stories I have ever heard. Ask me later for a debrief of that! Really good speakers, honest and relatable. I hadn’t heard of them before the conference so i thank #Data17 for introducing me to them!

I loved the tip battle between Andy Kriebel and Jeffery Shaffer – I actually learnt more than I thought I would given it was a battle, thinking it would be to quick to grasp anything but I am glad I attended – can’t wait for it to be released so we can all practice. It’s not only better ways to do things, they showed different tricks to enhance your vizzes which will work in many a-ways.

Interesting to watch the Data Duo, that session was really imformtive about how they became such a well known duo in the Tableau world. I mostly took away the fact you need to practice tons, trust the community, use the community and smile your way through it.

Tableau Community has my heart.

It is what it is, the vast amount of people that are so friendly and it feels like a family reunion when you see everyone. Even meeting people for the first time that you’ve conversed with over social media for the past year – it’s like we have all been hanging out every day. It was great that those of the community got recognised by the Vizzie awards ran by Wanna Be Podcast – these awards are voted for by the community and ran by the community.

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 20.04.28

I’m looking forward to catching up with a number of sessions that have been recorded and revisiting the ones I attended at #Data17! Below is a list of sessions I had wanted to attend but clashed, so these and many others are on my hit list for some bedtime reading.

What sessions I am looking forward to catching up on

  1. From rookie to Rocky: Building your Tableau training program
  2. Beautiful Data: Balancing art and analysis
  3. Eye tracking: What it teaches us about dashboard design
  4. Server Tools 102: Take command with tabcmd
  5. Electronic arts: Taking back ownership of data with Tableau
  6. You down with the LOD? (yeah you know me)

Catch up with sessions here http://tclive.tableau.com/SignUp

Vegas itself…

The whole of Vegas was great, the city, the state the venue – you couldn’t fault it for the size. I ate so much food you wouldn’t believe, I tried to make sure I had one of everything that reminded me of when I lived there. Sure to say I ate enough tacos to feed the conference as well as corn dogs and Zebra cakes!

We had the chance to get out of Vegas for a bit and see the Hoover Damn! Structural genius at it’s best, you just can’t comprehend the size of it.

Look out for the rest of the team’s blogs throughout the week on their experience of the conference! Here comes New Orleans #TC18

 

_Rebecca

 

Why you should attend a Tableau User Group…

So you are new to Tableau, maybe even this country, and you’ve come to work in Tableau over here. Well lucky for you we have a great community to become apart of where you can meet new people and talk Tableau. The Tableau User Groups are run by dedicated members the community who work with Tableau daily.

What happens at a TUG?
Lots. They range depending on where you are attending. You get some customer speakers that demonstrate how they are using Tableau in their industry or business. This can be very useful to learn how to apply different parts to your own business life; everyone is always welcoming to questions too. It’s always good to know you’re not alone in facing the daily Tableau struggles that we all face! Some smaller user groups are able to take a more hands on approach and do a viz club, or some tips ‘n’ tricks training that you can take away to use in your own dashboards & analytics.
Each TUG is usually followed by pizza, most of the time, and a cheeky beer (or soft drink if you prefer). London is the biggest one here in the UK and where you will find a lot of the British community – it’s like a reunion each time. They hold competitions for tips and tricks, which is both amusing and informative, I almost always learn something new! There are also loads of top speakers sharing their insights into Tableau and visualisation, always worth the trip! 

How do I get involved?
Follow @Tableau and @cloudstream_uk and keep an eye on #LondonTUG (or the hashtag for your local TUG) and #Tableau, while theres not always an official twitter account for the TUGs theres always plenty of buzz in the community. If you’re struggling to find a TUG near you drop @Tableau a message and they will be able to point you in the right direction. Want to share – become a speaker! Contact your TUG organiser, they’re always looking for people wanting to talk data! You can share your data journey or work experience with how you tackled a certain problem or even some excellent vizzes you made. Another place you can also find a lot of the user groups is on the Tableau website under Events, failing that then get in touch with your Tableau account manager. I am sure they will know someone who knows someone.

Can I bring a friend?
Yes. Yes you can. Its understandable some of these things can be quite daunting to attend on your own so bringing someone for that social support is always welcome. However, if you are on your own you’ll make friends quite easily and feel comfortable. I was a newbie once so it comes without saying.


Social / Networking and more!
This is the great thing about it. You will get to know people and familiar with their faces and possible twitter names. Any time you get a problem, if you were to tweet a question the community will be straight in to help. Lots of social projects to get involved in too which will help your Tableau skills as well as personal development. Ask about #MakeoverMonday , #WorkOutWednesday , #VizForSocialGood or hey make your own hash tag up and just viz for the fun of it and wait for feedback if you so wish. Once you have met some of the community you will learn about a whole new meaning of events. Here following on from TUGs you have Data+Women, The Tableau Fringe Festival,WannaBePodcast or you might want to join in on the BrightTalk Webinars, or even attend a conference – there is always something going on!

Final thoughts.
Don’t be afraid; be open to join the community. We are essentially a load of interesting and knowledgable people all using the same tool facing the same struggles and having the same goals. Lots of people to learn from, this blog was inspired by new people I met in London who had recently moved here from Europe and hadn’t experienced the London Tableau community, so I thought i’d do my bit to spread the community spirit that little bit further!

 

Getting Started with Mapbox

Have you seen or heard of Mapbox? I love it. I was shown it a while ago and never had a use case for it until recently when doing some work for a travel company. I wanted to match the map to their online version to what we were building in Tableau.

What is mapbox? It is an online directory of custom built maps for your needs. You can design your own map, build applications, extend applications, use satellite imagery and create static maps. You can even have PIRATE SHIP MAPS Arrrhhhhhh. (in pirate speak)

  1. So first off you’ll have to register with mapbox.com
  2. Once you are logged in go to Account > API access tokens > copy and paste your token. You’ll need this for Tableau.
  3. Open up Tableau > connect to your data source that has geographical locations. For this case we will use the sample sales data set that is preloaded in Tableau.
  4. Map > Background Maps > Map Service to open a pop up box.
  5. Add > Mapbox Services > Classic
  6. Fill in a style name for this map > Paste in the access token you previously copied
  7. Drop the selection box down and it will provide a list of classic maps already for your use. For this case we are going to use Emerald.
  8. Take your city dimension from the data set > double click or drag and drop to populate a map. See below the before and after without mapbox and with.
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 11.23.34
Before Mapbox
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 11.22.38
With Mapbox Emerald

 

If you make multiple mapbox maps and want to populate different styles on different worksheets, you can!

  1. Maps > Background Maps > Emerald. Here you have a list of maps that you have created – notice I have pirates sat there too. Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 11.29.13
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 11.27.46
Emerald
Screen Shot 2017-07-12 at 11.28.10
Pirates

So here you have a basic understanding of using mapbox – you can go further and learn more look out for the next blog post.

Happy Mapping, literally go explore!

Post TCoT London – Starting with strangers, leaving with friends.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 17.03.11

Now we are all back to our Tableau day jobs thought it would be a good idea to share experiences from the Tableau Conference on Tour and what it is like on the sponsor side rather than the attendee side.

First off it was great! If you don’t go, why not? You should. From the amount of seminars, keynotes, and networking you can do with the added bonus of free food & drink it keeps you alert! There are so many different seminars to attend which you can all learn something new from. I try to go to the sessions that I’m interested in or the sessions that are super hard but the speaker is going to walk through it step by step and I would benefit more from attending rather than watching tutorials on line.

Being apart of a team that was a sponsor this year was very different from just attending previously, you get to meet and chat to a whole bunch of new people -where as previously you might meet those through a friend. However, people were wanting to come and chat to us see who we are, ask for advice, meet later for a beer safe to say the network of friends from the Tableau community has grown. The other great thing about this conference is you finally get to meet people in person that you’ve been talking Tableau with on Twitter for the past year or so. @EvaMurry@Matt Francis@CharlieHTableau@EmilyKund, @PabloGomez @Nicholas Bignell,

At our stand we brought a reaction game with us to drum up some healthy fun, and competition amongst us all. It was crazy good to watch people battle it out to get the top score, groups of attendees kept coming back to beat each other or check on the highest score and beat that. Our record outside the team was 85. In side our team it was 81 by yours truly – it might of taken a couple of Pimm’s to reach that.

I went to a few keynotes and seminars but one keynote stood out for me and that was Jeff Bernson talk on Malaria in Zambia. His work that him and his team are doing is just phenomenal, its more than just a bar chart about how many sales you have. It is life saving! I was so inspired to go away and look at subjects I know nothing about and to start creating a viz learning from them. That way I can practice my Tableau skills and still learn about the challenges we face today in this world that are blinded by other means of media. It’s such a powerful tool and is doing so well across the globe, it was really refreshing to see something different.

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 17.11.49

The keynote from Sir David Spiegelhalter was brilliant in its own right also, thanks to @andycotgrave for pitching that idea. He opened up our minds with the stories of how data can be taken out of context and reported the same story in two different lights. He was very funny had the mass crowd in a huge burst of laughs throughout his speech.

We had the first European IRON VIZ at TCoT London – here the 3 finalist battled it out creating a viz in 20 minutes. Watching their minds work and tableau skills on stage with the added pressure of the crowd starring was also captivating – big congratulations to @DavidPires for winning this year with his awesome viz and a huge well done for the everyone that took part.

#MAKEOVERMONDAY made an appearance on the Monday of course which saw the community create, design, prep and plan for this weeks challenge. AK and Eva Murray really do a great job its spreading like wildfire. I mean if you don’t do #MakeOverMonday do you even Tableau?

I was able to get to two seminars throughout the conference which were Statistical Analysis with Tableau and Pick your poison: LOD or Quick Table Calc – both classes were well delivered, and I walked away with a better understanding as well as the drive needed to learn & research more to use in my daily Tableau life. Id of liked to of attended more but being on the sponsor side we had work to do and people to greet – so it wasn’t to bad.

DataNightOut is always a scream, you see everyone laid back enjoying themselves, raving in the silent disco or a few rounds of mini golf. The theme this year was Make Your Mark – which was quite fitting from the number of Keynotes we had that day.

As this may be a brief summary of my time at TCoT it was so worthwhile to attend. I encourage anyone else to go next year if you don’t learn any new Tableau you will sincerely enjoy yourself and make a ton of new friends.

Kudos to the staff who helped run the event and make it one to not forget.

Looking forward to TCoT 17 in VEGAS!