Spurious visualisations

May 2022

I've had a blast getting back into Tableau this year - and also plenty of fear.

It involved a couple of fairly intense months doing tutorials and endlessly playing with the product to get some confidence back. This spawned a smorgasbord of completely useless, utterly spurious visualisations that nonetheless had learning value.

To save wasting them, I've packaged my favourites and accompanying tutorials into a single workbook.

Before that, some apologies

The Tableau community has a rich seam of learning material. I couldn't possibly list every resource I've read since January on this small page.

So to all of you that ever took time to write anything about Tableau - THANK YOU!

On with the show...

Here's a collection of my favourite spurious visualisations and the tutorials I loved most along the way:

All the words to Lollipop by The Chordettes

All the words to Lollipop

Tutorial: Radial bar chart by Toan Hoang

Not a chart I'm likely to use at work but the process has great value for learning about paths, data densification and remembering GCSE maths

Bigfoot sightings

Tutorial: Negative space bar charts by Toan Hoang

Achieving great results in Tableau often involves a hack. This tutorial helped me learn to (quite literally) turn standard charts on their head to achieve new effects.

Chicken royal

Tutorial: Creating flight paths in Tableau by Marc Reid

I love maps! Learning Tableau's key geospatial functions is a must and they're all in this tutorial. Her majesty is grateful.

Fast food

Tutorial: Sectional radar chart by Kevin Flerlage

Not a standard chart but I could imagine using it at work sometime. Following on from Toan's radial chart, this tutorial introduced me to the concept of "drawing" in Tableau. Not easy - but eye opening.

Pricey food

Tutorial: Single sheet trellis chart zoom by Kevin Flerlage

This is definitely one you could use at work. I admit I didn't get it completely polished but it's an amazingly powerful chart and a crash course in using actions. So much information in a tight space - love it.


Tutorial: Voronoi treemap by Tristan Guillevin

This process introduced me to the idea of using other tools to pre-process data for Tableau. It's freeing! And Tristan made it so easy to play with. Great work.

American Airports, 1776

Okay, so this wasn't from a tutorial. I stumbled on transparency with shape files and went down a rabbit hole to create a stupid old map.

(There's a use for this somewhere. Let me know if you find it)

Cheap Flix

Tutorial: Better scatter plots by Ryan Sleeper

I had to remind myself Tableau is for work and Ryan's blog is packed with the kind of practical tips you'll use in a production environment. This scatter plot improvement is just one example of going the extra yard for users.

Nice mindset.