Tableau Visualizations

How I learned to present information with Tableau

These three graphs show Police which areas have had the most reported incidences and when they happened.

The What?

In my Tableau visualizations, I used data from a 911 incident responses in 2014 and 2015 to present police the best way of analyzing when and where police officers should be posted in the instance of a protest or riot. I specifically only used incidences related to arrests, assaults, disturbances, public gatherings and reckless burning. By using different types of visualization graphs, I was able to show different points across the data. By looking at a treemap, one can see least to greatest number of incidences per month easily by shades of color. In a symbol map, by having an actual map of the area and groupings of dots representing reported incidences in different districts, it is very clear to visually see which districts have had the greatest number of reports.

So What?

We have data. But to easily organize it into a visual presentation is a beneficial skill to have. Tableau is a great program to have as it gives the user many different graphs to use depending on what they are wanting to show. When I made my three graphs included here, I did so with specific intentions for each one to show my user a clear answer to their question. It was challenging to find the appropriate graph to answer each question. For example, the line graph shows the sum of all incidences that occurred at a certain hour over the course of two years. By only using hours, it does not help us see a pattern in what month of the year most of these occurred, or what day of the week. In the future, it might be better to answer a different question with a line graph then the one I chose, what time of day do these incidents occur?

Now What?

After learning how to use Tableau, I feel confident in working with data collections to not only present information but to present information in a way that is both informative and works for specific purposes. When I make visual presentations in the future, I will be sure to think of Tufte’s guidelines and make my data speak to its readers. A good visualization, as Tufte states in his Visual Display of Quantitive Information, will show lots of data in a clear presentation. It will be comparative and help show a difference to the reader. It will not be distorted. It will show properly proportioned data. It is important that as a designer, it is our job to present our work as clearly as possible so that our users can understand it with as little trouble as possible. That is why when using Tableau, a software that allows for many different types of visual presentation, it is important to choose a graph that suits your purpose. That answers the question you want to answer.

References Tufte, Edward R (1983, 2001), The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Graphics Press.