Tableau Public Revizited | Jan 7, 2020

With over 750,000 Tableau Public authors and thousands of visualizations published daily, great visualizations are becoming more and more likely to fly under the radar. We’re most likely to remember the one that garnered thousands of views, a bunch of favorites and perhaps, even, a Viz of the Day. However, there are so many more visualizations on the Tableau Public platform that exhibit great data visualization skills. It’s for this reason that I’d like to introduce Tableau Public Revizited; a project dedicated to celebrating examples of excellent data visualization, which happened to fly a little under the radar, from a Tableau Public number of views standpoint. The only requirement to be considered for selection is that a visualization must have had fewer than 500 views on Tableau Public, at the time of selection. Ok, time to get started with our first visualization of 2020!

We’ll get Tableau Public Revizited underway with this fantastic viz from Justin Davis.NCAA Football SalariesJustin published this viz on October 23, 2019 and with the College Football National Championship game scheduled for Monday, January 13, what better time than now to highlight his viz? You may remember a visualization Justin created back in March, called ‘NCAA Basketball Salaries.’ That viz was recognized as not only March 28th Tableau Public Viz of the Day (#VOTD), but also as Tableau Public Viz of the Week for the week of March 25-29th. NCAA Football Salaries has the same layout, so I like the fact that we’re already familiar with the look and feel. Several elements make this a great Tableau Public visualization. Let’s take a look at the viz.

Justin’s visualization features the salaries of coaches from what are referred to as the ‘Power 5’ conferences of Division I-A college football; these conferences are the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the Big 12, the Big Ten, the Pacific-12 (Pac-12) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The bottom right section also includes the Top 10 highest paid coaches from schools outside of the Power 5, including independent, Notre Dame.

What makes this great data viz?

  • Simple layout – Grouping the bar charts by conference allows the user to quickly and easily compare salaries not only within each conference, but also across the different conferences. For instance, we can quickly see that Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban are the highest paid coaches in college football…and rightfully so, as these teams have combined to win the last four college football national championships, with two apiece. And furthermore, the only other team to even make an appearance in any of those title games was Georgia in 2017. Two other things grabbed my attention right away;
    • The fact that the highest paid coaches in the Pac-12 are paid quite a bit less than the highest paid coaches within the other Power 5 conferences.
    • Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly earns a salary of just $1.67 million. As a lifelong Irish fan, I’m aware of the fact that NBC has held Notre Dame football TV rights since 1991. And with the latest deal being worth $15 million annually, I assumed Kelly’s contract would be larger, so seeing it highlighted when I opened the viz, captured my attention.
  • Clean formatting – You’ll notice the viz includes no grid lines and no axes. Why? Because, with the way Justin designed the viz, they are unnecessary. He includes a bar chart for each school and labels the value on the inside of the bar, which I love as well in this scenario. Not only does labeling the inside of the bar save some room, but it also allows the user to more easily scan down and read the salaries. It’s a much cleaner look than if he had labeled the ends of the bars. He also stuck with easy to read Tableau fonts which I’m a big fan of. Ok, now to my favorite part and the part that really makes this viz special, in my opinion.
  • Effective Use of Color – Under the title, Justin includes a parameter driven slider, where the user can select a winning percentage of their choice. This then updates the visualization by highlighting coaches who have won at least that percentage of their games. The default is set to 85%, which is a great place to start. When I opened the viz, the first thing I did was slide it down to 50%, as I wanted to see which highly paid coaches failed to win 50% of their games. See the result below. We can see that Purdue’s Jeff Brohm and Florida State’s Willie Taggart were both paid at least $5MM and won fewer than 50% of their games. Taggart was actually fired by FSU earlier this season, after getting out to a 4-5 start, while Brohm is still hanging on as coach at Purdue, but had another disappointing year, finishing 4-8 this season.NCAA Football Salaries (1)
    • One last really cool detail Justin added to the slider is dropping a calculation onto size that makes the 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% bands wider than the others. This helps make them much easier for the user to find. He also leverages a hover parameter action to drive the interactivity on viz itself. param%s

All in all, I think this is a great example of a clean, effective visualization. Easy to understand, as we’re dealing with bar charts, not cluttered at all with any unnecessary text or labeling and powerful in its use of color. Great work, Justin!

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