Makeover Monday – week 18, 2017: Why commute when you can cruise? Sydney Ferry data

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For this week’s #MakeoverMonday challenge I selected some Sydney specific data as I am running two Makeover Monday live events in the city. One event is for a Tableau customer who has invited me to their office to work with their team for the afternoon. We’re expecting a group of around 20 people to be vizzing together and presenting their results.

The other event is a public Makeover Monday live event hosted by Tridant who are the driving force behind my trip to Australia and have made my travel to Sydney possible in the first place. This event is happening on Monday evening at the Sydney Hard Rock Cafe in Darling Harbour and we’re looking forward to welcoming 60-70 dataviz enthusiasts and Tableau users for a few hours of creating data visualisations, finding data stories and networking over food and drinks.

As my commute to work here consists of an 18min ferry ride every morning, I decided to find some public transport data and came across a dataset about Sydney ferry patronage from July 2016 – February 2017. Perfect!

On my way home at the end of the day…

What about the rest of the community though, the ones that aren’t in Sydney? Well, I do like providing localised data and finding topics that aren’t just US or UK centric. But I also want to help the rest of the #MakeoverMonday community relate to the data, find something interesting and learn something new about a topic.

So in addition to the data and the original viz I decided to add a number of photos to give people an idea of the Sydney Harbour and the ferries that transport people from point to point.

The original viz

(Click on the image to view the interactive version on Tableau Public)

Card Type (1).png

What I like about it:

  • It’s great to see Transport for New South Wales embrace Tableau Public as a platform for sharing their data and insights with their customers and stakeholders!
  • Bar charts are a good way to compare sizes across dimensions or months in this case.
  • The colours are simple and distinctly different from one another, so it’s fairly easy to make out the different card types in the viz
  • The table provides actual values (number of trips) for viewers who want to know the detail. The table layout is easy to understand
  • Filters allow the user to adjust the range of months included and the ferry routes to be displayed, encouraging some interactivity with the data
  • Using percentages instead of actual number of trips makes it easier to compare across the months and puts number of trips for each card type into perspective

What I don’t like about it:

  • Sticking to the default colours and formatting options in Tableau means the viz doesn’t wow me. It has a lot of potential and could be really engaging for the intended audience, but at the moment it just provides a scorecard of sorts
  • While I like the approach of using a bar chart, the stacked bar charts that were chosen for this viz aren’t ideal because all but two card types have such small % numbers in comparison to the major categories (adults and seniors), that the values are not displayed and the bars are almost indiscernible.
  • Do we need ALL those colours? Maybe the card types could be grouped into ‘Adults & Seniors’, ‘Children/Youth’ and ‘Employees & Free Trips’ for colouring purposes or some other grouping that makes sense
  • Too much space is taken up by headings, titles, etc. rather than by data. I would like the data to be more prominent, especially in the table
  • No context is given. Are the numbers as expected? Above or below the previous month? How are the card types defined? And are there any particular reasons for fluctuations from month to month, such as events or special discounts etc.?

What I did:

(Click on the image to view the interactive version on Tableau Public)

Sydney Ferry Patronage

  • First I created a mobile viz because I think lots of people would look at public transport information on their mobile while using public transport.
  • The colours I chose were picked from an image I took of Circular Quay, so the dark blue reflects the harbour and the white provides a clean and strong contrast
  • I wanted to give visitors and locals alike an overview of the Ferry trip statistics and call out a couple of interesting findings from the data
  • I added a bit of descriptive text alongside the bar charts to provide context while still trying to focus on the data as the main feature of the dashboard

I also created a second dashboard to give some interactivity to the users, but this time I didn’t make it mobile sized because it would have been too fiddly to create the interactivity on the image…

(Click on the image to view the interactive version on Tableau Public)

Sydney Ferry Network

  • To provide some more context for my audience, I wanted to include the map of the ferry network
  • But just including a map would be a bit boring so I wanted interactivity. I had the right idea but didn’t know how to execute it, so a quick message to my friend Adam meant I knew how to approach it 2 min. later. Thanks, Adam!
  • I made the map a filter for the bar charts below, so viewers could explore the data based on the destinations of each ferry route.
  • Then I just adjusted the colours to reflect the Ferry branding

One comment

  1. I really like your second dashbord, but it can be tricky to tell which route is being highlighted. It would be really helpful to add an indicator telling the user which route/stop is being shown. Love your work Eva!


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