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 :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Day 20: Click Button Filters

This is one of my all time favs, though I think I hadn't really used it until after going to TCC13 and seeing Ryan Robitaille's presentation on "The Art and Science of the Zen Masters".  Probably the one session that has most impacted me in the seven months since then (that means TCC14 is only five months away!!!).  One of the most useful takeaways from that talk was creating clickable buttons to use as filters on a dashboard.  I've now implemented it many times and it's an excellent trick to have in the tool belt.

I mentioned Ryan's talk - I want to show two pictures from his awesome blog where he digs into visual design in Tableau and how he puts everything together.  The reason we dig into this was because the clickable button was a prominent feature of the dashboard:

And here's the underlying way it all comes together:

Blue = a sheet in Tableau; Green=Text in Tableau; and Red=an image brought in to the dashboard.

The click buttons are down there at the bottom.  Like I said, I don't think there's been anything that has impacted my work as much as understanding how all of this comes together.  So let's dig into the very simple ways these are created.  That's right, there's two ways to do this - one uses the good old Rows or Columns shelf, and the other uses the Details shelf.  We'll show you how to do it both ways.  Here we go!

Back to the Superstore.  Now, just so that you know, these buttons are pretty useless unless you have another visualization that you're going to filter.  So I'm going to take this basic area chart and have it be the sheet that gets filtered (Sales over time, by year):

Ok, the first set of click button filters is going to use the Rows/Columns shelf method.  We'll use the "Region" dimension.  Go ahead and create a new sheet.  Here comes the trick (Don't blink, you might miss it....).  Change mark type to Bar, and add Region to Columns, Label, and Color.  Add the field "One' (if you haven't made it before now, here's the formula: 1), and right click to switch it to Dimension, which will get rid of the "Sum".  You should be looking something like this:

Now play with some formatting - increase the size shelf and the size of the sheet so that the color fills in properly; right click on the "Region" header and select "Hide field labels for columns"; right click on the Region pill and uncheck "Show Header"; click on Label, and center-center the text; lastly, if you want them click on color shelf and bring in some borders.  Ta-da! Should look like this:

Awesome.  Hold on to that one and we'll come back to it in a bit.  Now for the other method of putting the dimension on the Detail Shelf.  Much of this will be the same, just a slightly different route.  For this one we're going to do "Department".  Here we go, new sheet, and...

Add Department to the Detail Shelf and you get three squares - interesting.  Let's change then to be circles (on the marks shelf).  Now we want to make them BIG!  Click the size shelf, and scroll until you're almost uncomfortable with how big they are.  You should be looking something like this about now:

Now very similar to the steps before, add department to color and label (align center-center) as well.  Also, if you want them click on color and add in your boarder around the circles, and Ta-da again! You should look something like this:

Ok, now we're going to bring the three sheets together on one dashboard and right click on both of our button sheets and select "Use as a Filter".  Here's what mine looks like:

Awesome, I hope you enjoyed that one.  The count down goes to the single digits!  Stay tuned!


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