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Visual Analytics Fundamentals: Creating Compelling Data Narratives with Tableau

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  • Copyright 2023
  • Edition: 1st
  • eBook (Watermarked)
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-795688-6
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-795688-3

Master the Fundamentals of Modern Visual Analytics--and Craft Compelling Visual Narratives in Tableau!

Do you need to persuade or inform people? Do you have data? Then you need to master visual analytics and visual storytelling. Today, the #1 tool for telling visual stories with data is Tableau, and demand for Tableau skills is soaring. In Visual Analytics Fundamentals, renowned visual storyteller and analytics professor Lindy Ryan introduces all the fundamental visual analytics knowledge, cognitive and perceptual concepts, and hands-on Tableau techniques you'll need.

Ryan puts core analytics and visual concepts upfront, so you'll always know exactly what you're trying to accomplish and can apply this knowledge with any tool. Building on this foundation, she presents classroom-proven guided exercises for translating ideas into reality with Tableau 2022. You'll learn how to organize data and structure analysis with stories in mind, embrace exploration and visual discovery, and articulate your findings with rich data, well-curated visualizations, and skillfully crafted narrative frameworks. Ryan's insider tips take you far beyond the basics--and you'll rely on her expert checklists for years to come.

  • Communicate more powerfully by applying scientific knowledge of the human brain
  • Get started with the Tableau platform and Tableau Desktop 2022
  • Connect data and quickly prepare it for analysis
  • Ask questions that help you keep data firmly in context
  • Choose the right charts, graphs, and maps for each project--and avoid the wrong ones
  • Craft storyboards that reflect your message and audience
  • Direct attention to what matters most
  • Build data dashboards that guide people towards meaningful outcomes
  • Master advanced visualizations, including timelines, Likert scales, and lollipop charts

This book has only one prerequisite: your desire to communicate insights from data in ways that are memorable and actionable. It's for executives and professionals sharing important results, students writing reports or presentations, teachers cultivating data literacy, journalists making sense of complex trends. . . . practically everyone! Don't even have Tableau? Download your free trial of Tableau Desktop and let's get started!

Sample Content

Table of Contents

Preface       xiv

Acknowledgments       xxvi

About the Author       xxvii

1. Welcome to Visual Analytics      1

A Visual Revolution       2

The Evolution from Data Visualization to Visual Data Storytelling       7

A Brief Look at the State of the Industry       9

From Visual to Story: Bridging the Gap       11

Summary       16

2. The Power of Visual Analytics      17

The Science of Storytelling       18

      The Brain on Stories       19

      The Human on Stories       21

The Power of Stories       23

      The Classic Visualization Example       24

      Using Small Personal Data for Big Stories       26

      The Two-or-Four Season Debate       30

      Napoleon's March       32

      Stories Outside of the Box       34

Summary       35

3. Getting Started with Tableau      37

Using Tableau       38

Why Tableau?        39

The Tableau Product Portfolio       42

      Tableau Desktop       43

      Tableau Server       43

      Tableau Cloud       44

      Tableau Prep       44

      Tableau Public         44

      Tableau Reader and Tableau Viewer       44

Getting Started        45

Installing Tableau Desktop       46

Connecting to Data       46

      Connecting to Table       48

      Live Versus Extract       51

      Connecting to Multiple Tables with Relationships and Joins       52

Adding and Replacing Data Sources       55

Basic Data Prep with Data Interpreter       57

Navigating the Tableau Interface       58

      Menus and Toolbar       59

      Data Pane       60

      Shelves and Cards       60

      Legends       60

Understanding Dimensions and Measures       61

      Dimensions       61

      Measures       61

      Continuous and Discrete       61

Summary       62

4. Keeping Visual Analytics in Context      63

Context in Action       65

      Harry Potter: Hero or Menace?        66

      Ensuring Relevant Context       67

Exploratory Versus Explanatory Analysis       69

Structuring Visual Analytic Stories       73

      Story Plot       74

      Story Genre       75

Audience Analysis for Storytelling       76

      Who       77

      What       77

      Why       77

      How       78

Summary       80

5. Fundamental Data Visualizations      81

The Bar Chart       83

      Tableau How-To: Bar Chart       84

The Line Chart       88

      Tableau How-To: Line Chart       91

Pie and Doughnut Charts       91

      Tableau How-To: Pie and Doughnut Charts       93

The Scatter Plot       98

      Tableau How-To: Scatter Plots       98

The Packed Bubble Chart       102

      Tableau How-To: Packed Bubble Charts       103

The Tree Map       105

      Tableau How-To: Tree Maps       106

The Heat Map       108

      Tableau How-To: Heat Maps        109

Summary       112

6. Fundamental Maps      113

      Connecting to Geographic Data       116

      Assigning Geographic Roles       117

      Creating Geographic Hierarchies       120

      Proportional Symbol Maps       123

      Choropleth Map       127

7. Design Tips for Curating Visual Analytics      133

Visual Design Building Blocks       136

Color       138

      Sequential Color       139

      Diverging Color       140

      Categorical Color       143

Color Effects       145

      Opacity        146

      Mark Borders       147

      Mark Halos       147

Pre-attentive Colors       148

Important Color Considerations       150

The Truth About Red and Green       151

Lines       153

      Formatting Grid Lines, Zero Lines, and Drop Lines       156

      Formatting Borders       160

Formatting, Shading, and Banding       163

Shapes       168

      Shape Marks Card       168

      Custom Shapes       169

Summary       173

8. Structuring Analytics for Storytelling: Prep, Dashboards, and Stories      175

Basic Data Prep in Tableau: Data Interpreter       176

      Data Interpreter in Action       177

      Handling Nulls in Tableau       179

      Pivoting Data from Wide to Tall        182

      A Note on Preparing Survey Data for Visual Analysis       186

Storyboarding Your Visual Analytics       188

      Understanding Stories in Tableau       189

      The Storyboarding Process       198

Summary       200

9. Beyond Fundamentals: Advanced Visualizations      201

Timelines       202

Bar-in-Bar Charts       210

Likert-Scale Visualizations       213

      A 100% Stacked Bar Chart       214

      Divergent Stacked Bar Chart       216

Lollipop Charts       226

      Labeled Lollipops       230

Word Clouds       231

Summary       234

10. Closing Thoughts      235

Five Steps to Visual Data Storytelling       236

      Step 1. Find Data That Supports Your Story       236

      Step 2. Layer Information for Understanding       237

      Step 3. Design to Reveal       237

      Step 4. Beware the False Reveal       238

      Step 5. Tell It Fast       238

The Important Role of Feedback       238

Ongoing Learning       240

      Teach Yourself: External Resources       240

      Companion Materials to This Text       242

Appendix A. Tableau Services       243

Index       247


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