Makeover Monday: a different approach

There have been a few changes with Makeover Monday this year, most notably with the move from posting visualisations on rather than Twitter. In terms of tracking submissions this makes perfect sense, although I do think that interactions with other participants would be encouraged by enabling thread view in the discussions.

I have also changed my own approach slightly, and it seems to be working, with both visualisations I have submitted this year being included as a favourite in the weekly round-ups. So what am I doing differently?

It comes back to one of my Q1 aims: to find new angles in data.

Week 4 – Turkey Vultures

Tableau Public viz: How Far Do Turkey Vultures Fly?Turkey VulturesFor a real lesson on the benefits of finding an angle in your data, and using storytelling techniques to share your findings, check out this wonderful viz by Matt Francis.

My own angle was to try and create something for children. I am not sure why this came to mind as the original data is from a fairly dry academic paper. The fact that each vulture in the study was given a name was definitely a factor, and having a primary school teacher for a partner was definitely another.

(I also wasn’t the only person with this idea, I really liked Staticum’s engaging viz They Call Me Domingo).

When I found the delightful Turkey Vulture icons from Birdorable (and was given permission to use them), I knew the idea had potential. It also gave me the opportunity to experiment with mapbox, which I highly recommend as an easy way of adding to the Tableau default maps.

I even created a gamified version to share at my local Code Club, where I volunteer helping 8-12 year olds learn to code (you can play the game at Morongo the Turkey Vulture).

Week 5 – What the Most Profitable Countries Make per Second

What Apple makes in one minute

Week 5’s dataset was one of those I normally struggle with (limited data points, and a subject I am not particularly interested in). I had two main thoughts after my first look at the data: just how far ahead of the other companies Apple where, and just how enormous the company profits are.

A simple bar chart showing all 25 companies in the dataset would have worked well, but just seemed a bit…easy. I also wanted to highlight the sheer size of the profits, which comparing each value against the other doesn’t really do.

My angle was to focus on the time element. By converting the data to profit per minute, and showing a minute pass in the visualisation, the enormity of the profit is underlined. Including selected other companies (concentrating on the most relevant comparisons) allows the viewer to see how far ahead Apple are, as well as adding some visual variety.

Now I love Tableau but I know that the pages function doesn’t work in Public, so for animated visualisations it is not my tool of choice. I don’t currently know D3 (I decided learning Python would be more useful at the moment), although I would love to recreate using D3 at some point.

So I went old school, using PowerPoint to create the initial image then creating 60 new frames, and coverting them to a gif using ScreenToGif (I also created an mp4 version for linkedin using Wondershare Filmora). If you are wondering about the second hand, the trick is to create a line (half black fill, half transparent), then rotate 6° at a time.

And if you are wondering how I found my angle, I divided 360° by 60.


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