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Making Visualizations

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Visualization Tour

Familiarity with the visual layout of Tableau is its own skill worth practicing. While data exploration is relatively straightforward, actually using Tableau for data visualization can prove confusing or frustrating at first because of the amount of new visual information to take in.

Dimensions & Measures in action: drag+drop

In Tableau, different combinations of Dimensions and Measures produce different visualization types, like bar charts, tree graphs, line charts, circle packs, etc.

Aesthetic properties, aka Marks Cards

In Tableau, aesthetic properties like color, shape, and size are changed by dragging a variable to the corresponding marks card.

Adjusting Presets

In Tableau, small changes can go a long way towards making a visualization look original rather than templated. Tableau users can use preset or custom color palettes, choose from different web-safe or downloaded fonts, and add visual elements like borders and backgrounds.

Storytelling - key takeaways

In Tableau, tooltips, labels and dashboarding features all help the user create a strong story with the data. Finished tooltips don’t just present data fields, but rather integrate them into a sentence or format them for ideal readability and user experience.

Dashboards 101

Data visualizations dashboards are most effective with 2-3 main visualizations and concise written context. Data visualizations generally do not “speak for themselves,” and viewers almost always benefit from the viz developer’s perspective and knowledge of the data.

Wrap Up

When making visualizations in Tableau, best practices include starting on paper, adjusting preset aesthetics for a custom look, and focusing on solid storytelling for key takeaways.