Makeover Monday – Week 9, 2017: Kriebel’s Kreditkarte

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Well this week is different. Andy lets us scrutinise his credit card spending habits, so we’re getting very personal right here. This dataset is nice and small, so simplicity will be my focus for sure.

Of course, no published news article exists on Andy’s credit card purchases, so he kindly posted a couple of screenshots for us from his online account.

amex-category-summaryamex-monthly-summary

What I like about them:

  • they’re simple and neat and actually look quite nice at first glance
  • the colours in the line chart work well together but are easy to differentiate from one another
  • the call-outs add further information and indicate that transactions data can be accessed (‘click to show transaction’) which will be interesting for further exploration of specific data points
  • the chart titles are simple but provide enough information to tell me what each chart is about
  • the addition of the monthly average line in the second picture is useful

What I don’t like:

  • the bar chart separates data into categories through individual bars as well as colours. The colours don’t add any further information and while the colour palette is nice, it doesn’t mean anything to me and seems a bit too much. A single colour would have been sufficient
  • the labels in the category chart are too far removed from their respective bars. I would prefer to see the labels closer to the bar because my eyes have to keep jumping from left to right to see the values and relate them back to the length of each bar
  • the bars are a bit thin, especially given that each row band is quite wide, so I would prefer each bar to be wider
  • for the line chart which shows year-over-year spend, I think the title isn’t sufficient. The chart simply shows the spending levels each month for two different years. The year-over-year % only becomes apparent in the tooltips

 

What I did:

  • I really wanted to keep it simple this week, back to basics, so I did some initial exploring of the data to understand the different fields included
  • Then I went to the whiteboard for some sketching…

  • As I don’t have a lot of critique for the original line chart, I decided to only do a makeover of the bar chart and create what I think is a better version of it
  • I used a single colour for the bars (spending category), kept the labels close together, made them large and provided % of total spend labels rather than $ amounts.
  • The $ amounts have moved to the tooltip and there is a short note stating the total $ amount, which I think is interesting to see and to give perspective for the data
  • I put the % labels to the left of each bar so it reads naturally, almost like a sentence following the subtitle (What did Andy spend his money on in 2016?): “42% (on) Transportation”. Rather than “Transportation: 42%”
  • Because I’m a big fan of alliterations, I used the German word for credit card in the heading. I think it looks almost formal and I like how the black, slim font looks on a warm grey background and how the vertical and diagonal lines of the K’s provide some contrast to the orange horizontal bars and the curves of the numbers

 

(click on the image for the interactive version)

final

2 comments

  1. Hello Eva,

    I have been using Tableau for a month now and still haven’t managed to create a view/dashboard of my own. I lack the confidence – a virgin dataset frightens me and don’t know why. Maybe I fear to pull the wrong questions out of it. Also, I am not that well-rounded on Tableau yet, I struggle to get the right layout for my view most of the times…

    I’m finding your blog extremely well pleasant for a Tableau beginner and I feel I just want to copy everything that you do on Tableau! :p

    I’m trying to replicate your approach to this MakeOverMonday and among other questions I just want to post this ridiculous one: how do you enlarge the bars and also how do you make the % appear immediately at the left of the bar? 😀

    Hope that doesn’t sound too silly.
    Sorry for my English – not my native language.

    Have a good day!

    Like

    1. Hi Esther,
      thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you enjoy using Tableau and I hope you will find the last little bit of conviction in your own abilities to feel confident enough to publish your work. I’d love to see it!

      My advice: don’t be frightened by an unfamiliar dataset. Especially when it comes to Makeover Monday. We always provide a viz that can be improved on, so maybe start there and ask yourself:
      – what is it telling me?
      – what isn’t it telling me?
      – what could be done better about it?
      and then try to improve it.
      You don’t need to create a grand dashboard with all the bells and whistles. Keep it simple, maybe just create a single chart but make that single chart answer a specific question you have.

      You could simply begin with the number of records in the dataset. How many rows are in the data? Then maybe create a new chart where you look at the number of records again but see how they behave over time. And then you can bring in another dimension and see if the data tells you some interesting story there.

      Copying what someone else does is no crime. You can always download the workbooks of others from Tableau Public and look at what they did. You can learn A LOT this way.

      Also, please remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect Don’t feel intimated by some of the really artistic work out there. Some people have been using Tableau for years and/or have a lot of experience with graphic design, other data visualisation tools etc.
      But one thing we all have in common. At some point, every one of us built their very first viz. And it’s very likely that it was a simple snd unassuming bar chart or table or pie chart. Then we grow into different directions at different speeds, but with every time we practice, we learn and improve.

      Regarding your specific questions on my viz:
      – To enlarge the bars you just set the worksheet size to ‘entire view’
      – to get the percentages on the side you can either create a dashboard where you have 2 charts: the bar chart and then to the left you have a chart with categories on rows and the percentage on text, but hide the category header. What I did as an alternative was to create a calculated field which turned the % measure into a string, so I could use it as a header

      I hope this helps.
      All the best and good luck with your Tableau journey. I do hope we see your fizzes very soon 🙂

      Like

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