The Friday project – week 4

A slow start to the Friday project this week, as after a frustrating week at work I woke up as grumpy as Andy Kriebel if someone asks what Makeover Monday is.

Still, in theory the data was more in my comfort zone than last week’s tweets – tourist spend in New Zealand by district.

The final viz


First thoughts

My first thoughts were that the use of the index was curious – it gives a sense of change over time for each district, but not the relative value of spend in each. This would clearly impact the final design.

Based on the original column charts, overall international tourist spend appeared to be rising and seasonal – in comparison, domestic tourist spend appeared to be more stable and more evenly distributed across the year.

It was time to explore the data in tableau, check my initial comprehension of the data, and understand the trends at district level.

Exploring the data

My next step was to build the graph I had scribbled down earlier, plotting overall domestic and international spend by month – as expected the international line was much more up and down than the domestic line (see below for the formatted equivalent), with an overall upwards trend.


I was pleased with the clear story  this chart choice showed and ended up using this with one fundamental enhancement – the ability to filter by district.

Looking at the district view generated some interesting questions – the largest outlier was Matamata-Piako district (see below). A quick google revealed why: the area was chosen to play The Shire in the interminable film adaptations of JRR Tolkein’s books for children.


Design choices

I was happy with the chart I had chosen, but this led to a quandary – it only filled one third of my dashboard. I was keen to find a bold, appropriate image to fill the space, and after some google image searches (filtering by images labelled for reuse) came across the photograph below of Lake Matheson on the Wikimedia Commons site.

(For an excellent overview of the ethics of using other people’s work in your visualisations see Ryan Sleeper’s article Data Visualization: The Stolen Art)

Lake Matheson just after the sunset

Now I love this image (maybe because it reminds me of an area graph :-), and I soon decided that this should form the centrepiece of my visualisation. The dominant colours also determined by overall design – a black background, with grey and orange used to distinguish domestic and international spend.

And that was it. I added the fern design, partly to guide the eye to the dropdown, a suitable (if slightly boring) title and sub-title, and some annotation to add context to the numbers and some background to the remake.

Final thoughts

I am pretty happy with the result, and with my improvement since week 1, although counter-intuitively I ended up spending more time on this than last week. Still, there was still time to update my blog, and catch up on my Data Exploration and Storytelling course. And I was considerably less grumpy!












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