Why Vizioneer?

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Atlanta, Georgia, United States
The "Vizioneer" comes from mashing two words that have shaped my world for most of my adult life - Engineer and [data] Visualizations (or Vizes to those who know what's up). Graduating from first from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, followed by Georgia Tech with my Bachelors and Masters in Civil Engineering, all of which taught me to think through anything and everything - problem solving, "engineering" solutions, teaching to the "ah ha" moments - is what I love to do. In 2010 that investigative, engineering mindset intersected a job change and a plunge into the world of Data Analysis. In the search for the next great thing I stumbled on to a data visualization and dashboarding product called Tableau software and things just took off. So now I guess you could call me that engineer with the sweet data visualizations - or just "The Vizioneer" :)

In 2013, I joined the incredible team at Slalom, focusing on Tableau and it's been an amazing experience. Recently in 2014, I was honored and humbled to receive Tableau's highest recognition of being named a Tableau Zen Master. Follow along to see what happens next :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day 10: Big Numbers

In a previous life (ie a college intern) I worked in construction estimation.  I hated it.  I didn't have the patience for it.  In construction estimation a group of people work for a general contractor and pour over architectural plans for weeks in order to add up the cost of building every little piece of a multi-million dollar building.  I distinctly remember days where I would count door knobs for hours. I guess someone had to do it.  All of the work that this team did would ultimately come together on "Bid Day" where the sum of all of those numbers would be added together to arrive at one very large total number.  All that work for ONE BIG NUMBER!

Sometimes, one number is all that matters.  Tableau does data VISUALIZATION.  Trust me, I get it.  But if there's nothing to compare to, no context or other numbers, there's no way to create a visualization of meaning.  That's why sometimes, you just need to show one big number.  

Here are a few examples of this technique:
My Super Bowl Commercials Viz of the Day

Andy Kriebel (of Zen Master and Facebook fame) Visualizing 500,000 Page Views

This is going to be short and sweet.  Here's the trick.  Each one of those boxes is a sheet is the workbook.  The sheet is just an aggregation of a measure, formated as big text, with smaller text saying what that number is.  Let's hop into Tableau, back to the world of SuperStore Data.  This is going to be quick.

Pick a measure (I'll chose "Sales") and drag it to the Text Shelf.  That's it.  Don't forget to tip your waitress.  

Kidding, but only sorta.  

Now click the test shelf. Click the ellipses ("...") and it pulls up a box you can format:

Select the current text and increase the font size to make it big (I did 20) and go to a new line and write "Sales" smaller and lighter underneath, like this:

Hit ok and now you should have something like this:

Just repeat for each "Big Number" you need to create.  When you bring them on to a dashboard, make sure they are part of the target of your filtering actions so that clicking on something in a visualization will also filter the "Big Number".  

Nice and easy.

And another excuse to reshow the Super Bowl Commercial Viz of the Day as an example:

Thanks for stopping by!



  1. Delightful. I'm really enjoying these Nelson!

    1. Thanks Kelly! Glad to hear you're enjoying these!

    2. This is the best Nelson! Do you have an article on how you broke down each section of the Dashboard?

    3. Perhaps I should at things a little: I will read your article of:

      Thank you so much, Nelson!