Time for a European dataset once again. And if you’ve ever been around me eat breakfast, lunch or dinner time, you’ll know that I simply LOVE to eat. Potatoes feature right at the top of my list of all-time favourite vegetables. But in recent times people have shunned the humble potato for fear it will make fat (what???). So to ensure potatoes get a bit of love (it was Valentine’s Day only last week after all), this week is all about potatoes…
The original ‘viz’ comes from a Eurostat report, which contains a bunch of tables, pie charts and line charts. Our focus in particular is on these two beauties:
What I like about them:
- they’re simple and everyone would know how to read them, looking at the intersection of the rows and columns to understand each value in its appropriate context
- countries are listed in alphabetical order, which makes it easy to find specific ones the reader may be looking for
- equally, years (in table 1) are in chronological order
- having years on columns (table 1) makes sense for reading tables, rather than stacking them in a single column
- The report clearly states all the data sources and provides links to them
What I don’t like about them:
- no interactivity, tables don’t appeal to me visually, they don’t draw my attention and don’t make me want to look at this further
- by shading each cell according to the value, this could have been easily turned into a highlight table which would be better than the uninspiring black and white data sheet
- it’s very hard to compare countries over time and across metrics as I have to keep values in memory (i.e. in my brain) while searching for those values I want to compare them to, then calculate stuff and make sense of the results. A simple bar chart or line chart would help me a lot to better understand this dataset.
What I did:
- first I needed some inspiration… I wanted a fresh colour palette to use for this week’s challenge so I
wasted hourssearched on Pinterest and stumbled across this beautiful photo by Chris Court Photography. Perfect!
- so as a first step, I created my ‘French Fries and Ketchup’ palette for Tableau. It was fun 🙂
- then I went back to pen and paper to draft some ideas for my dashboard and created my first version in Tableau. It was a pretty busy viz, mostly because I love the colour palette and wanted to use it to the max :-). I sent Andy a screenshot of the viz and got some rather frank feedback on my viz. And I’ll admit, it was a bad viz, because I just threw everything at it without thinking about what questions I wanted to answer.
- so back I went to pen and paper once more and came up with a much simpler dashboard that provides an overview of the European Potato Industry in 2014…
- having gone through the data for my first version certainly helped clarify what I wanted to show in my final dashboard so this paper version took about 5 minutes to create. After that I took a break to do some real life stuff in the outside world with other humans, it’s the weekend after all.
- returning to my desk a couple of hours later I managed to create my final viz in about 50 min, formatting and all. Very happy with that and it confirms once more that a good draft gets you half-way there. At least!
- So without further ado, here is my final viz… (click for the interactive version)