Tableau for Designers (And Everyone Else, Too)

Our Analytics Team recently started using the analytics tool Tableau. Their mission is to help people better see and understand their data – and they’re doing it fabulously.

Tableau is to every laboriously made and clunky-looking chart you’ve ever made in Excel/Powerpoint/Illustrator as the Apple empire is to the fragmented Android market. It’s disrupting the Business Intelligence marketplace buy making things dead simple to use and beautiful to look at.



An example Tableau graph.

How do I, a designer, know all this? Well, at Response Mine Interactive we have a largely open office format and I sit right next to the guy running our analytics, so I’ve been seeing all these cool features with greed glinting in my little artsy eyes.

After all, is it not a complete travesty for the spreadsheet sifters to have way sexier departmental reports than the creative do?! It is, it is indeed, and my mediocre Excel sheets will no longer suffice. This is why I have re-engineered my department’s documentation system to leverage Tableau’s capabilities.

Self-measurement, tracking and scorecarding are a key tenet for many groups here at RMI to help us better understand the ebbs and flows of our business, spot bottlenecks or optimization opportunities, set goals, and communicate effectively with others about the performance of ourselves and our team.

Now, Tableau enables me to make an incredibly wide array of slick graphs and charts – some of which very elegantly illustrate complex data gathered in the scorekeeping exercise.

Already, it has revolutionized the way I track team efforts and interact with my supervisor about throughput, client and project type mix, etc. Tableau lets me slice and dice my data so much more than I thought possible, and the Dashboard functionality is really special. Basically, you can link certain charts and graphs together, which allows you to drill down into your data.


In the image, you can see a large WoW graph. If you click on any of those weeks, all the other elements will filter to that week on the spot, allowing you to examine that week in great detail via the metrics we find most valuable. Conversely, you can click on any of the smaller graphics and the WoW week graph will filter to show only your selection over time.

In short, I’ve only just begun to dig into what is possible, but I can already tell that Tableau and I will become data visualization BFFs. If you’re looking to spice up your data visualization – or get some in the first place – I recommend looking into Tableau as an easy-to-use resource to clearly discover and demonstrate valuable data trends and insights.

Response Mine Interactive