Tableau Tips Directory | Line Charts

The Tableau/Data Viz community is simply amazing!! The quantity and quality of tips, tutorials, how to’s, etc. available at the click of a button is not only incredible for somebody working to improve their skills, but also can be a tad overwhelming when it comes to referencing them when the opportunity arises to put one into practice. I often find myself scrolling through Twitter or searching a blog, thinking, “I swear this is where I saw that!!” In the end, I usually end up finding what I was looking for, but a more organized approach to searching for these tips would be invaluable not only for myself, but also for others like me, who are honing their skills and frequently looking to practice new tips they’ve seen.

So, the purpose of this series of blog posts is to compile a list of Tableau tips I’ve come across and to give them a home, which will allow for quick reference in the future. The initial plan is to break the series up by chart type, beginning with the most basic types. A few important notes to consider;

  • Charlie Hutcheson has a fantastic blog, LearningTableauBlog, where, in many of his posts, he includes links to valuable videos and blog posts;
    • By no means is this series meant to be a copycat on any of Charlie’s fine work.
      • Instead, the intent is to help myself stay more organized by collecting my favorite tips and storing them in one, easy to reach, place.
      • However, it would be incredibly selfish to not share this with the rest of the community as well, particularly, those in similar shoes as my own.
  • Lastly, in case you missed them, I would also like to point you to two other blog posts recently shared by Rebecca Roland and Mark Edwards. Rebecca’s Tableau Assistant Directory provides a list of tools and websites, while Mark’s DataViz Podcast Directory provides a list of various DataViz podcasts, all in one place. Both are fabulous resources, so be sure to check them out!!

This post on Line Charts will include some of the top Tableau tips I’ve seen from Andy Kriebel, Rody Zakovich and Ryan Sleeper. However, there are likely many other wonderful tips out there for Line Charts that I haven’t happened to come across yet. If that’s the case and you would like one added, feel free to add a comment here including the author of the tip and a link to the tip or Tweet me at @JtothaVizzo.

Andy Kriebel

Rody Zakovich

Ryan Sleeper

Name That Baby!!

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In 2014, when my wife and I went to the hospital to have our first child, we were all packed up and as prepared to go as we could possibly be. Living just a few blocks from the hospital, the option was available for me to swing home, with ease, if needed. But, nonetheless, the bags that would accompany us sat, packed in our spare bedroom, for the better part of two weeks. However, as prepared as we were with packing, we were equally unprepared in another major part of this whole baby having process…what the hell would we name the baby??? As there are few surprises in life, we chose not to find out the sex, though everyone assured us we were having a boy. So, needing both a girl and boy name, over several months we periodically looked up lists of baby names and talked about which ones we liked or didn’t like, but never seemed to gain much ground. Finally, the day was here and as we rushed out the door, our list was still incomplete, consisting of a single maybe for a girl name and exactly zero boy names. Well, as it turns out, we wound up having a beautiful baby girl and our maybe name, Ruby, seemed to fit her perfectly. Whew, crisis averted!!

Now, as 2017 comes to an end and we usher in 2018, we are expecting our second child in just over three weeks. And here we are sitting in the same situation. Once again, not wanting to find out the sex, this time we’ve been able to muster up one boy name, but zero girl names!! So, how does any of this pertain to Tableau and/or Data Visualization? Funny you should ask…

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Why the Viz?

After going through the same song and dance we went through in 2014, I decided to leverage my passion for Tableau and Data Viz as a new way to approach searching for baby names. Having lost track of how many times I’ve Google searched phrases including “baby names,” it seemed only right to try and make the process more simple and fun. Eventually, I landed on the Social Security Administration website, where I was able to find data on the top baby names, by decade. After narrowing down my list to go back only to the 1920s, as opposed to the 1880s, I began gathering the data.

How Can it Help?

The process of picking out baby names may be easy for some, but very difficult for others. For us, it has been the latter for a few reasons that I won’t go into. Either way, in our situation, my wife and I both tend to stay away from the ultra popular names of today, as we prefer classic names that are beginning to come back in a small way, especially for girls. This is how we landed on Ruby, which also happened to have some meaning to us. So, with these thoughts in mind, I wanted to trend the popularity of baby names over time and use that to determine if the criteria are met for a specific name.

How Does it Work?

Dating back to the 1920s, a lot of names have landed in the Top 200 most popular baby names for a given decade. So, with so many names to weed through, I needed a way to filter down the options of what was viewable at a particular time. Thus, the viz is basically useless without the first of three dashboard actions;

  1. Name Begins with Filter: Including an A to Z list on the lefthand side of the viz allows the user to filter to names that begin with a desired letter. Once a letter has been selected, the second and third dashboard actions come into play.
  2. Name Rank Trend Highlights: Hovering on a girl name will highlight the name rank trend below, while hovering on a boy name will do the same for the boy name rank trends.

Once your name is highlighted in the line chart, you will see its initial Top 200 Rank, as well as all subsequent ranks, allowing you to easily see if the name has increased or decreased in popularity. Here’s a quick example; Although the spelling is different, the name Brittany entered the Top 200 in the 1980s, ranking #21 among girl names. By the 1990s it had climbed to #7. And then in the late 1990s, Britney Spears  became a thing and by the 2000s the popularity of the name Brittany had plummeted to #189. Coincidence? You be the judge.

My hopes are that this viz can be helpful in several different ways, regardless if you like popular names, classic names or anything in between. Thank you for reading, now GO NAME THAT BABY!!

 

Viz What You Love: Part II

cmavizJust over three weeks ago, I posted a viz about Notre Dame football, supporting it with a blog post called ‘Viz What You Love,’ professing and detailing my love for the Fighting Irish football program. A few days after that post, I shared a viz outlining the history of the CMA (Country Music Association) Awards Album of the Year winners. Having grown up in the middle of nowhere, literally, in northwestern Minnesota, sports and music were two of the things that became very important to me early on in life. While, my desire to be active and competitive fire were fueled through sports, music was always there when it was time to relax, study or have fun. I love several genres of music, but where I grew up, country music was big and it has always had a place in my heart. My first ever CD was John Michael Montgomery…no seriously!! And my first ever concert was Tim McGraw, way back when his only hit was “Don’t Take the Girl.” The point is that I love country music and that one really fun way to continue improving your Tableau skills is to produce data visualizations about things you love. I like to call this “Viz What You Love.” Part II is about my CMA Awards 51 Albums of the Year viz.

When I first saw Sean Miller‘s ‘The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All-Time’ viz, I was blown away not only by how cool it was, but also by how much information was right there at my fingertips. Now, while I’m not a huge metal-head, I’ve listened to enough to know many of the artists and albums on the list, among them Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osborne. The very first thing that caught my attention on Sean’s viz was the range of energy in Black Sabbath/Ozzy albums vs. those of Slayer, which is all energy, all the time. I hadn’t heard much Slayer before, so pulled them up on Spotify. You could say their music is…aggressive!! Anyway, I thought Sean’s viz was awesome and I wanted to try something similar from some music more familiar to me. The first step would be to find a data set…well wouldn’t you know Sean also blogged about his viz and included a sweet little trick you can do in Spotify to capture several different attributes. Thanks for sharing Sean!! Here’s the link he included in his blog that helps you sort your music, so you can then throw it into a spreadsheet and start visualizing. This process is much more seamless than I was expecting, so that was a pleasant surprise!!

As for song attributes, I chose beats per minute, energy, acoustic and popularity. Being country music was my choice, I thought valence may also be interesting, but it didn’t tell the story I was hoping for. I included all songs from each album, because I wanted to see any clustering, especially on the low and high ends of each attribute category. For instance, a majority of two-time Album of the Year award winner, Charlie Rich’s music is low energy and highly acoustic, while recent two-time winner, Chris Stapleton offers a wide variety on his albums. The extreme unpopularity of country music from the 60s through the 80s is clear, save a few notable exceptions such as Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson. There’s a gradual increase in popularity, the newer the music is and neither of these facts are a huge surprise when you think about the demographics of Spotify listeners. I’m really going out on a limb here, but my hunch is that more millennials are using Spotify than senior citizens. I mean, my dad certainly isn’t on Spotify…can you get Spotify on a track phone??? Wait, is it track phone or TracFone? Ah, who the hell knows, the point is not many millennials are listening to Ronnie Milsap, Alabama or George Strait, but they damn well should be!! Ok, here’s what I like about the viz;

  • Like I mentioned earlier, I’m a fan of including all songs on the dot plot, as the clustering of songs within an album is interesting to see.
  • I would have never chosen these colors on my own, but a quick Google search led me to colors associated with each genre of music. So, I chose four related to country music and feel that they actually look pretty nice together, thanks in large part to the dark blue background.
  • I think the highlight actions work well, as you can hover on a song under one column and easily see where that song falls in the other categories as well.

I hope you enjoyed reading, now go out and Viz What You Love!! Thank you again for the inspiration Sean, this was a really fun project!!

Feeling Thankful

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With the way this past Wednesday started, I couldn’t have imagined it would turn into such a special day for me. Only after several snooze buttons did I finally drag myself out of bed to begin the day…my wife and daughter both still sound asleep after a late night run to the ER, which saw us return home at 1:30am, after finding out our daughter had double ear infections and pneumonia. Poor little girl. So, as my wife stayed home with her for the day, off to work I went. It was just a typical Wednesday until sometime after lunch when I decided to find out what was happening on Twitter and…HOLY SHIT!! To my absolute delight, I had been selected as a Tableau Public Featured Author!! The feeling was amazing…I was thrilled!!

So, now nearly a week has passed and I’ve had some time to process this first big Tableau/Data Viz achievement. Since deciding, nearly eight months ago that it was time to join the Tableau community and begin leveraging Tableau Public to build an online portfolio, I’ve been inspired by countless people, vizzes, tweets, blog posts, videos, etc. At this point, I feel it’s necessary to share some of these inspirations with those who may have begun their journey a little later than me. So, the following post is a recap of my last seven and a half months, pointing out key moments along the way. It is quite aggressive with the links, but that is intentional, so that every important piece of inspiration is just a click away.

Springtime – Getting Started

On April 26th, 2017 the Twitter account @JtothaVizzo was created. This would serve as the main way in which I would stay connected to the community. My first goal after creating the account was to find and follow the most influential people in the community, so I could begin learning from the best. Tableau Zen Masters and Tableau Ambassadors were top priority. A day later, this tweet by Andy Cotgreave led me to the mentioned blog post by Mark Edwards, where he discussed the importance of building a Tableau Public portfolio in order to develop your skills and become involved in the community. After reading Mark’s post I came across one from Eva MurraySo you want a job as a Tableau Developer? Umm, yes please!! Eva is wonderful and her post is loaded with great advice for anyone interested in landing that first job…or next job for that matter, using Tableau.

My next stop would be #MakeoverMonday led by Eva and Andy Kriebel and on May 1st, I submitted my first #MakeoverMonday viz. Today, I consider #MakeoverMonday the single biggest factor contributing to my growth. And if you’ve regularly read my blog, you know I haven’t participated every week since joining. Even in the weeks when I’ve failed to participate, I’ve learned through studying the work of others and reading feedback via Twitter. Including #MMVizReview in your Twitter submission also offers a fantastic opportunity to get feedback directly from Andy and Eva, via their weekly webinar. Also on May 1st, having heard a lot about the book in recent months, I ordered The Big Book of Dashboards. If you haven’t, ORDER IT NOW, as it is worth every penny!!

Summer Months – Text, Hurdles and Football

On July 5th, I read a great blog post from Pooja Gandi called Let’s talk about text! In the post, Pooja shared a handful of neat text box tricks that she uses in almost all of her vizzes. I had always admired the beauty of Pooja’s work, so needless to say, when she shared this post, I was thrilled!! After failing to find a data set I felt comfortable with for the second 2017 #IronViz feeder contest, on August 6th, I entered my first #IronViz submission, as part of the third feeder contest. For me, entering the contest meant clearing a big mental hurdle and you can read more about that here. I was feeling very confident following my #IronViz submission and the positive feedback I received, so when Sean Miller tweeted out on August 14th, that he wanted to start a Tableau Community Fantasy Football league, I was all in. I felt it could be a great opportunity to make some connections and have a little fun all at the same time. THE data LEAGUE features some pretty amazing people!! But, we won’t get into how my team has performed…

Fall is Here – Blogging, Goals and TCTUG

After at least a month or two of kicking around the idea of starting a blog, unsure whether or not the timing was right, on September 19th I decided to just do it. That night, I chose my platform, purchased my domain, picked the theme, design and all that good stuff, and also published my very first Data Viz blog post. Jeff’s DataViz Journey was born and I had officially cleared another major hurdle!!

Having goals is very important. Writing them down is even more important. Until October 23rd, I had been terrible at getting my goals out of my head and onto paper. On the Subject of #VizGoals by Mark Edwards helped me turn the corner, get them written down and start focusing on them. The very next day, I went out and bought a notebook, where my goals and many other viz related things (blog post ideas, viz ideas, viz sketches, etc.) now reside. On October 25th, I read Learning Tableau by Jeffrey Shaffer. Please read this as well!! Jeffrey’s post has a ton of information for those looking to get started in the Tableau Community. Blogs, Social Media, Tableau User Groups, Videos, Books, Trainings…you name it, it is likely in here!!

In November, somewhere around a two-year hiatus, I once again attended a Twin Cities Tableau User Group Meeting. If you have a TUG in your area, I highly recommend attending, if you can work it into your schedule. I happened to be off the day of the November TCTUG meeting and things fell nicely into place, so I attended. My goal is to attend future meetings as frequently as possible. Yours should be too.

It was very rewarding to see Paul McHale’s November 16th blog post Learning from the Tableau Community in which he thanked me for providing him with the inspiration to share his work. In his post, Paul said he related very strongly to my blog post, ‘Overcoming the Fear to Share.’ It was great to see my blog have a positive impact on someone else in the community. That’s what it’s all about!! On November 24th, the day after Thanksgiving, I felt extra thankful, as Simon Beaumont mentioned me in a #TableauFF tweet. Simon, thank you again for the mention, it is greatly appreciated!! For quite awhile, I had been seeing #TableauFF on Friday’s, but never really understood what it meant until recently. For those who are unaware, it stands for Tableau Follow Friday and is a hashtag used (on Friday’s) as an opportunity to find and welcome new members of the community.

Winter – A Great Start

Alicia Bembenek’s December 3rd blog post, Who Else Wants to Up Their Blog Game? really hit home with me. My blog was closing in on being three-months old and although I did have six posts and counting, there was something I didn’t have…ANY SORT OF SET PLAN!! With a list of potential topics, a plan on when to write will be essential if I’m to be successful.

And on December 6th, Tableau Public recognized me as one of ten new Featured Authors and for that I am extremely thankful!! Congratulations to the nine other Tableau Public Featured Authors as well, I am honored to be a part of this great group!!

Thank you for taking the time to read, my hope is that you’re able to take some information and inspiration out of this post and apply it to your own Data Viz Journey!!

#MakeoverMonday Scores 100 Weeks!!

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In another month, #MakeoverMonday will be two years old, but for the time being, a big congratulations are in order for Andy Kriebel and Eva Murray, as well as #MakeoverMonday alum, Andy Cotgreave, as #MakeoverMonday celebrates its 100th week!! As a member of the community, who benefits from all of the time and hard work the #MakeoverMonday crew continues to put in to make this project what it is today, I would like to extend a very warm thank you!!

I only became aware of #MakeoverMonday earlier this year, but in the last thirty-two weeks, have learned a lot about Tableau and Data Visualization, by following the superb work of others, as well as participating myself. This recent tweet by Louise Shorten prompted me to explore my own #MakeoverMonday participation. And while I got off to a sluggish start, batting just 6 for 21 or 0.285 (for the baseball fans out there…if any are left) in my first twenty-one weeks, my participation has improved. My participation since Week 39 is much better, at 7 for 10. Kudos to Charlie Hutcheson and Neil Richards for participating in all 100 weeks, thus far!! That is unbelievably impressive!! If anyone else achieved this as well, I apologize for having left you out.

Here are a few goals incorporated as part of my #MakeoverMonday submissions, which can all be found here;

  • Try Something New; slope charts, lollipop charts, small multiples, diverging bar chart, dot plot, hex-map. These are some approaches I tried for the first time in Tableau, during a #MakeoverMonday submission.
  • Keep It Simple; Here’s an area I’m working to improve on, as I have a tendency to go too far and oversimplify things. I’m really not a fan of too much text in a viz, but understanding when it is necessary is the key. Assuming the audience knows nothing about the data set is good practice, to ensure your viz is being properly labeled.
  • Get Feedback; I typically like to get my wife’s take on my work before submitting it, but that’s not always possible as I’m much more of a night owl than a 7-month pregnant woman!! However, if you don’t yet know about it, when submitting your #MakeoverMonday viz, include the hashtag #MMVizReview and Andy and Eva will review it during that week’s Viz Review. You can view previous webinars or register for future ones here. Do this, the feedback is fantastic!!
  • Be Different; For me this one sort of happens by default. Due to fatherhood and just life happening in general, I don’t typically get to the new data sets right away. Therefore, by the time my viz gets underway, I’ve already seen several others, on Twitter. However, I’ve come to enjoy this, as it gives me a chance to change gears and think of alternative ways to present the data, when I see Tweets come through that are similar to my initial plans.
  • Explore the Work of Others; At the end of the day, it’s all about learning and improving, so downloading and exploring the workbooks of other vizzes that have piqued my interest is a must. Whether it’s learning how to build a new chart, write a new calculation, formatting and design tips, etc. this is another great way to learn.

Viz What You Love

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If you’ve ever visited my Tableau Public profile page, it probably didn’t take you long to realize that sports are a very big interest of mine. While my profile currently sits at forty-two vizzes, twenty-five of those are sports related vizzes in which I had a particular interest or question, tracked down the data behind it and built a viz to display the findings. As I’ve previously mentioned, my Tableau Public journey began with some great advice from Ryan Sleeper. In addition to sharing his Top Five Tips, Ryan also shared with me that what keeps his fire alive is to practice using Tableau, in his spare time, with data that he cares about. Doing this provides him with hours upon hours of practice that in turn makes his day job much easier. If you know me personally, you know I am born and raised in Minnesota. You may also know that being born and raised in Minnesota means you’ve inherited a collection of some of the most frustrating sports teams on the planet, both professionally and on a collegiate level. This is where my love for Notre Dame Fighting Irish football begins. A love with plenty of history…bits and pieces of which have continued to live on in my head for years. With my latest Tableau Public project and this blog post, I wanted to share my story of becoming a Notre Dame football fan, bring together some of the data that fuels my memories as a fan and share a viz about the history of Notre Dame football, in the Associated Press Era (1936-current).

My Favorite Team

It’s pretty fitting for me that the Fighting Irish football player in the picture above is wearing a No. 5 jersey. That’s how old I was when I first discovered the sport of football. And for me, growing up in rural Minnesota in the mid-1980’s, I had just a few options of what teams to watch each weekend. Of course on Sunday’s I could watch the Minnesota Vikings and by default, they became my favorite NFL team. But what about college football on Saturday’s, who would I follow? Well, thankfully, for me that decision was as easy as choosing between cake and pie…let the record show that I would choose cake over pie 100 times, given 100 opportunities. That’s right pie people, you heard me!! Now for me, the exciting, flavorful, flashy looking cake was Notre Dame Fighting Irish football and the dry, crusty, boring old pie was Minnesota Gophers football. In my first seven years as a Notre Dame fan, the Fighting Irish (cake) posted a 70-13-1 record, they won a National Championship and finished second in the nation two other years, while also finishing fourth once and sixth once. They played in seven major bowl games winning five of them, boasted a Heisman Trophy winner and had a Heisman Trophy runner-up, as well as several other Heisman finalists. As for Minnesota (pie)…they posted a 28-47-2 record, didn’t reach one bowl game and didn’t sniff a Heisman Trophy.

Too Much Success, Too Early?

So, while the decision to choose the Irish over the Gophers was a no-brainer for the child that I was, little did my child-sized brain know that this wave of success would surprisingly NOT last forever. I mean things as a Notre Dame football fan/Minnesota sports fan were great in the late 80s/early 90s. In 1987, the Minnesota Twins won the World Series, follow that up with Notre Dame’s 1988 National Championship and a near repeat in 1989, the Vikings were playing well and making playoff runs, in 1989 the NBA came back to Minnesota after a 30-year hiatus and heck, the Minnesota Gophers men’s basketball team even reached an Elite Eight and Final Four in back-to-back years. Then to cap it all off, in 1991 the Twins won another World Series. It was quite an incredible five-year run. My only mistake was assuming this wouldn’t change. Of course, I didn’t know any better, so optimistic little Jeff just expected the success to keep on coming…boy was I wrong. That optimistic, bright-eyed child has learned to expect disappointment and to be let down by his favorite teams. Aren’t sports great?!!

Despite the Struggles, the Love Remains

The Minnesota teams are a discussion for another day, but coming off of their late 80s/early 90s success, the mid to late 90s and into the 2000s were pretty bleak times for Notre Dame and their fans. The team would go fifteen years before winning another Bowl game and to this day haven’t won a major Bowl game since 1993. Following their five Top 6 finishes in six years, from 1994 to 2011, the Irish would finish in the Top 10 just once…just ONE TIME!! Coaches came and went, losing seasons became common ground and some historic streaks were even snapped, like in 2007 when Notre Dame lost to Navy for the first time in forty-four contests. The good, the bad, the ugly, this is all part of what I’ve gone through in my time as a Notre Dame Fighting Irish football fan. I love sports, I love many different kinds of sports, I cheer for a lot of different teams and players, but I do not love any sports team quite like I love Notre Dame football. I even remember my little girl’s first ever Notre Dame touchdown. She was exactly one-week old, she had been home from the hospital for five days and was laying on my chest snuggled up in the Notre Dame onesie, beanie and blanket we had gotten for her on a road trip earlier that year, which had required a detour to the Notre Dame campus. Malik Zaire to Will Fuller, a 12-yard TD strike against LSU, in the Music City Bowl. That was her first ever Fighting Irish TD. I remember getting chills down my spine when the Notre Dame marching band struck up the Notre Dame Victory March after that score…it may seem silly, but some things you just never forget. I would never push anything on my little girl or baby No. 2 (due Jan 21st 2018), but I do hope that some day the opportunity arises for me to share my love of Notre Dame football with them. However, for the time being, I’d like to share this love with you the reader in the form of a five-page story that captures the history of Notre Dame football during the AP Era.

The Viz

I’m not going to spend much time on the design and technique, as the viz is very basic. The key takeaway here is to use Tableau Public to practice with things you love and that you are passionate about. For me, it just happens to be sports and in this case, Notre Dame football. By this point, if you haven’t felt my passion for Notre Dame football, I’m either a lousy writer or you’re reading to yourself in a very monotone, Ben Stein voice. Your passion could be any number of things other than sports. But, I bet you that whatever it is, you can likely find data and you can sure have a lot of fun building a viz to help tell the story behind it.

Back to the viz. My main goal was to keep it very simple so that anyone who understands football, even just a little bit, could understand and follow the story. The story has five parts. They are;

  • Win/Loss Record by Season

In the 81 seasons since the AP Era started, Notre Dame has won 8 National Championships. The point of this page is to provide an overview of Notre Dame’s success or lack thereof each season, while providing a little commentary regarding key points along the way. The green bars in the “Wins” column indicate seasons in which the Irish won the National Championship. A tool tip on the Wins bar also provides Notre Dame’s point for and points against for the season.

  • Game by Game Results

I believe the first time I saw this done was by Matt Chambers, but I love the idea of viewing game by game results in a column chart with point differential representing the bar length. Here, I used navy blue to represent wins, gold to represent losses or ties and green to represent wins during a National Championship season. The view is broken down in rows by decade and a tool tip provides the date of the game, the score and each team’s ranking heading into the contest.

  • Results by Opponent

Earlier, I mentioned that Notre Dame had beaten Navy forty-four straight times, from 1964-2006. Taking the same approach as the previous page, I wanted to view their success versus each opponent. This is sorted by number of games played. It’s interesting to see who they’ve played and when they’ve played them. For instance, despite being located just a few hours away from one another, Notre Dame has only played Northwestern once in the last twenty-three seasons. And Notre Dame hasn’t faced Minnesota since 1938.

  • The Record Books

It’s absurd how many random sports stats are floating around in my head. This page displays Notre Dame career leaders in 11 offensive categories. I hope to add defensive categories, but at this point, do not have data to support that side of the ball. A few simple parameters allow the user to select the stat they’d like to view and then pull in the Top 10 to Top 50 in steps of 5.

  • Career Coaching Records

Lastly, I didn’t want to leave out the coaches. Three legends jump off the page; Lou Holtz, Ara Parseghian and Frank Leahy. Notably absent is Knute Rockne, who coached Notre Dame prior to the Associated Press Era, from 1918-1930. Rockne compiled a 105-12-5 record while winning three National Championships.

So there you have it. Clearly, I’m very passionate about Notre Dame football and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to share that passion in the form of this blog post and the viz that goes along with it. My hope is that this post can inspire others to Viz What You Love and share that love with others. Thank you so much for reading and have a great day!

Overcoming the Fear to Share

In this week’s #MakeoverMonday blog review, Andy Kriebel had just one lesson: Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Work. He said that during #MakeoverMonday live from #TC17, he heard a lot of #MakeoverMonday participants say that they are intimidated to share their work to Tableau Public and Twitter. Well, for those of you who feel that way, I get it…I’ve been in your shoes. There are a lot of ultra-talented folks in the community who regularly submit the type of work you and I could only dream of putting together. Well, guess what? Dream and dream BIG, because overcoming our fear is the first step to joining those ultra-talented folks!! Here’s my journey to overcoming the fear to share.

Early Tableau Public Work

As I shared in my first blog post, I had been using Tableau at work, for a little over a year before I learned about Tableau Public. Looking back, while things haven’t unfolded particularly quickly by any means, I still feel that moment in February of 2016 was groundbreaking for me. Tableau Public allowed me to practice using the tool with data sets (mostly sports related) that were of great interest to me. So, from March-June of 2016, I created a total of seven vizzes and boy was I proud of them!! I couldn’t look at them enough. But one part was still missing…sure I was publishing my work, but who was looking at it besides me? It was easy to publish it when there was virtually no audience. Fast forward several months after some time away from the tool (we’ll explain why at a later date) and enter Twitter.

Data Viz Twitter Account

In April of 2017, yes A FULL YEAR AND TWO MONTHS after first hearing about Tableau Public and its community, I finally decided it was time to get serious about joining this community. First off, DON’T BE LIKE ME!! Don’t wait around…don’t be afraid and don’t put it off!! Just join the community and start getting involved, you will be happy you didn’t wait!! Ok, so anyway, I created a new Twitter account, @JtothaVizzo. This was intended to be used for Data Viz purposes only…no following ESPN, no ProFootballTalk, no Bill Simmons, no other distractions period. The sole purpose of the account would be to follow the community, learn about Tableau/Data Viz, share my work and eventually become more involved. So, for the next few months I mostly sat back and observed, while sharing about a dozen vizzes. Although my posts weren’t receiving much feedback or attention, I was practicing Tableau and could feel improvement with each passing week, especially since getting involved in #MakeoverMonday, on May 1. In May and June, I submitted several vizzes and continued looking on, in awe, of the talent participating in #MakeoverMonday. As the breathtaking work rolled in week after week, there was one thing I knew for sure…at some point, I wanted to be able to produce the quality of work I was seeing!! Throughout the month of July, my work began getting a bit of feedback and I was feeling more confident in myself. Then came August and #IronViz Silver Screen.

#IronViz Submission = Fear!!

By the time the third and final #IronViz 2017 feeder contest came around, I had 28 vizzes on my Tableau Public profile. Although most of them had not garnered much attention, some of my more recent ones had. Were people starting to learn who I was? If so, did they like my work or think it was lousy? If I competed in #IronViz, would people expect anything from me and who would judge it?? These thoughts were scary. I mean, this would be my first ever viz that was going to be officially judged. What if the judges think my entry is the worst one in the competition? Enter…fear!! Determined to overcome the fear and submit my first #IronViz entry, I now had another issue to deal with. What would my entry be about? The category was Silver Screen, far from a strong suit of mine. If my eyes were on a TV, it was typically one of four or five things; sports, whatever toddler show my daughter was watching before daycare in the morning, The Real Housewives of whatever city my wife was watching, HGTV, or Family Guy. Ok, so my options were limited. Would the community enjoy an #IronViz about Sid the Science Kid, Mother Goose Club or Word Party? Uh, yeah probably not. So, after some careful thought, I landed on The Simpsons. It was my favorite show as a kid and honestly I couldn’t believe it was still on the air, after all these years. Having not seen an episode in at least a decade, I was curious to see if the show was still performing well. The goal for my viz was to answer that question, while trying some cool stuff in the process.

The Fear Disappears

I remember finishing my viz, filling out the #IronViz form and then sitting there staring at the button I would click to submit it. I was scared…flat out scared. Although I felt my viz was decent work and pretty cool, it was so easy for the doubt to creep back into my mind. I took a deep breath and then remembered something. I had been so excited to be a part of this #IronViz contest, so why was I afraid now? I told myself, “screw it, what’s the worst that can happen?” I clicked the button. There was no going back now, my first ever #IronViz submission was out there. I added a post to Twitter and then steered clear of Twitter for awhile, occupying myself with whatever game was on that night. An hour or so later, I checked my Twitter feed and to my relief, saw great feedback of my viz. People liked it, I was ecstatic!! From that point on, the fear has been absent.

If I can do it, you can do it. Whether it’s #MakeoverMonday, #IronViz, or any other viz you’ve created with your own data set, listen to Andy’s great advice and Don’t Be Afraid To Share Your Work. Like me, you’ll be glad you shared it!! Oh and as if you need another reminder, DON’T WAIT A FULL YEAR AND TWO MONTHS to become involved in the Tableau community, like I did!!