It’s been nearly a week since the Tableau Conference went on tour to London for Data 17 and in that period, I had only done one viz which was this week’s Makeover Monday. As I wanted to invest some time into visualising some data I was interested in, I stumbled across the Tableau Wanna Be Podcast by Emily Kund and Matt Francis where I listened to their interview with Neil Richards.
Neil made an excellent point about people starting out in Tableau to “Get some data you are interested in.” As I am heavily interested in sport and music data, it seemed very logical to do something with music data as a lot of my time is spent either following motorsport or listening to music. I would love to do a motorsport viz in future, but for the time being, music seemed the ideal option.
Getting the data
I had some ideas for what I wanted to focus my story around the data I had wrangled into an Excel spreadsheet but I had no clear idea of what I wanted to do in terms of charts.
However, something popped into my head around comparing Natalie Imbruglia and Kylie Minogue’s Albums and Singles Charts performances in Australia and the United Kingdom. The idea stuck and then I had wrangled the data from Wikipedia from a table of their respective discographies into a spreadsheet and off I went.
Hitting some early brick walls
My original plan was to compare both Minogue’s and Imbruglia’s Album and Singles Charts performances in Australia and the United Kingdom. When I loaded the spreadsheet onto Tableau and created a barbell chart, the chart looked out of proportion in terms of the circles not aligning correctly with the line. This posed an early problem that would be easily fixed once I had amended my original idea.
I thought the best plan of action was to split the two subjects into two separate spreadsheets. This meant my barbell chart had more chance of looking proportionally correct. After playing around with the dataset, it seemed like the logical option was to focus only on Kylie as I was hitting multiple brick walls with the data for Natalie Imbruglia.
Inspiration for the viz
I have seen a lot of people in the Tableau community use barbell charts on Makeover Monday and other vizzes so I was stuck with where to start for that matter. That’s when I looked at Ryan Sleeper’s blog on How to Make Dumbbell Charts in Tableau and it all made sense.
Sleeper’s way of explaining how to create this chart was very simple and easy to understand which meant that I could put together the barbell chart very quickly without having to fiddle around with calculations. Whilst I would love to do a barbell chart with a calculated field, forming the groundwork for future use of that chart meant doing it without calculations as a first-time user was the better option.
Pictures Credited to Wikipedia.