Makeover Monday – Week 10, 2017: The Top 500 YouTube Games Channels

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Imagine being an 8 year old kid who likes to visualise data but who isn’t all that excited by political topics or car driving statistics. What would you want to visualise?

The Makeover Monday community is something I am very fond of and as the co-host of the project I have the freedom to choose whatever data I like for my challenges. For week 10 I picked something I kinda felt Joe Radburn would like. After his stellar efforts over the last year I wanted to make sure he was still around and not forgetting about us.

Now I’m the first to admit, I have never really been in touch with the stuff that 8 year old boys like. But at least I know what questions to ask and how to get the information I need ;-). And I heard Joe is into games like Minecraft and enjoys watching YouTubers whose channels focus on exactly that.

So YouTube data it was: views and subscribers for the Top 500 Gaming channels on YouTube.

The data came from SocialBlade and is provided as a pretty uninspiring table…


What I like about it:

  • channels are sorted from top to bottom so I see the ‘biggest players’ straight away and I’m likely only interested in those top 10 or top 20 channels anyway, so I can see them reasonably quickly
  • if I have a specific channel I’m looking for, I can always use the search function of my browser to find it; and what viz could possibly have all 500 displayed at once and make it easier to find a specific item than a searchable table?
  • I can sort the table by subscribers and views, which gives me two different perspectives on the data
  • the grade is colour coded so I can easily see when the grading changes from one category to another (e.g. A to B)
  • the values for total views and total subscribers are displayed clearly
  • each channel is linked to their own summary page providing A LOT more information

What I don’t like about it:

  • it is difficult to compare channels quickly and easily because all the effort needs to be made by the reader by doing the maths in their head
    • how much bigger is channel X compared to channel Y? Wait, let me get my calculator…
  • the SB Score is confusing, being listed next to the rank
  • the values for views and subscribers could be shortened into millions to reduce the size of the number. Do I need to know every single digit? No, but knowing that the equivalent of the entire population of Mexico City subscribes to the channel AuthenticGames is pretty interesting. 8.8 million would be enough information for that. 8,798,615 doesn’t give me any more insight than 8.8m
  • the table is really long (of course), so I cannot see everything on a single screen or within a couple of scrolling actions
  • there are no explanations of the scores, I had to dig around in the FAQ to get a better idea of what the scores mean
  • while I like the link to the channels’ summary pages, I would also LOVE a link to their actual YouTube channels so I can check them out

What I did:

This week was a rather iterative process as I worked through a number of different ideas

  • at first I looked at the data, of course, and considered doing a pareto analysis, because I thought it may be interesting to see the impact by the top 20% of channels…

  • scibblesbut when I worked on this idea in Tableau it didn’t excite me, so I looked for a story
  • back to pen and paper it was and as I scribbled some ideas, I worked in parallel in Tableau to see what data I could use for my story


  • I took a break, did some real life stuff outside in the sunshine, before sitting down and going through those scribbles to create my Tableau viz and telling a story about the Top 500 YouTube Games Channels


  • I wanted to use colours and fonts effectively to highlight certain aspects of the viz, while educating the viewer on these statistics, rankings and grades of YouTube channels. I also wanted the colours to be simple, so I kept it to black, grey and a single shade of red (Youtube red)
  • for the font I chose the Franklin Gothic palette fontsbecause it is nice and condensed and reminds me of the YouTube font. Unfortunately. Tableau Server doesn’t display the font correctly, but I’m used to that by now…
  • I also wanted to ensure my design was mobile friendly because YouTube and mobile go hand-in-hand.


My final viz is this: I really like how it turned out, especially with the colours and the overall flow.

I should probably thank Andy (again) for continuously encouraging me to use long-form and design for mobile…

(Click to view on Tableau Public)

My viz.png


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