Nov
20
2016

Wisdom Tree – The DataDuo

A new section to bring in light, thoughts of the Tableau experts who are an inspiration to all of us.The answers will be helpful to everyone aspiring to learn more and more in the Tableau world.Every week, we shall bring in such one personality who would share their words to the readers and motivate them to dive in deeper in this limitless ocean of knowledge and fun.Readers can also leave their questions to the viz masters in the comment section below.

We are introducing the section with 2 such experts:

1. For how long have you been using tableau?

Pooja – 2.5 years!

Adam – I have been using Tableau for almost three years.

2. What is one thing in tableau that you wish every other BI tool in the market should have?

Pooja – Ease of use. The fact that Tableau is not intimidating and can be easily used by people of any expertise level makes the product that much more reliable and flexible to use. Additionally, Tableau also happens to have a passionate community of users that other software's lack. Having constant ongoing support from other users is comforting!

Adam – Flexibility!  I can make just about anything in Tableau.  I always say if you can think of a way to present data, there is probably a way to do it in Tableau.  Other BI tools I have used are inflexible.  I am not just talking about colors, etc., but even chart types are locked down in other BI tools.  You can go outside-the-box in Tableau if you are creative.

3. Tell us one thing that you dread doing in tableau and why?

Pooja – Creating cross tabs and financial statements. Tableau isn't Excel, so I am not comfortable creating high intensity crosstabs that could be better created in Excel.

Adam – I am not a huge fan of the new table calc UX in Tableau 10.  I preferred the older version with partitioning/addressing.  I find myself guessing sometimes, but I usually get there.  I truly dread making pie charts, unless you have <=3 slices!

4. Tell us one feature of Tableau that you would wish was long removed.

Pooja – While there are many things, I wish Tableau added to their existing functionality, there isn't anything major I wish that was long removed.

Adam – I wish Tableau would stop trying to "help" by trying to scale the dashboard when I add more space at the bottom.  This is really annoying when floating.  If you need more space on the bottom of your dashboard when floating, Tableau will expand/collapse the views to fill the space. I wish it would just leave it on an anchor point so I didn't have to adjust every pixel again.  I get pretty picky about looking perfect so this annoys me. They need a better dashboarding experience like snap to grid or proper responsive scaling.

 5. Tell us one thing that you are still scared to try in Tableau.
Pooja – I have to admit I still haven't tried a lot of things Tableau is capable of doing,either natively or by integrating other applications to it. That said, given the resources available and willingness of the community to help, I would be comfortable using Tableau in ways .I would have never thought were possible. A few things that I am not scared of but would love to try are advanced mapping, custom polygons and advanced text mining in Tableau.

Adam – I am willing to try just about anything.  The reason is there are so many great how-to blogs out there.  You can always find someone else to steal from. 🙂  I tend to shy away from radial stuff because is isn't a good way to display data.  I like things that are both beautiful and functional.  I don't think radial/sankey charts are useful, so I don't do a lot there.  This willingness to try different things is a big factor in my success with Tableau.  I am delving into JavaScript api animation and other advanced topics like great arcs because of the great community resources.

6. What features of Tableau do you often use in your office work?

Pooja – Everything from basic parameters to advanced LODs.

Adam – We are stuck on 9.3 at work.  However, I take advantage of all of things I have done in my personal work to take work to the next level.  I have a much better understanding of good design (thanks Pooja) and "best practices" from partaking in community events like #MakeoverMonday and #IronViz.  I have Tableau Server at work so I am focusing on delivering content to wide audiences at varying levels (i.e., executives, managers and worker bees).  My best work dashboards serve these different stakeholders using parameters and hidden worksheets depending on their individual information needs.

7. When has Tableau surprised you the best?

Pooja – There have been instances. Some of my favorites are, when I learnt that LODs will change the way I worked with calculations in Tableau.When I learnt that Tableau isn't constrained to specificity and allows for creative freedom.When I learnt that action filters can take a static report and make it insightful and interactive.And so many more…

Adam – I think the first time I fully understood how parameters work!  This is when I knew I could customize UX and get really creative. Mastering parameters and actions is necessary to make cohesive dashboards.

8. What is the one thing you have always wanted Tableau to have?

Pooja – Again, there are many things I wish were within the scope of what Tableau offers. Dynamic parameters, more flexibility with number formatting, better dashboard creation process when building a mobile visualization and better mapping solutions are some of the things I wish were possible already!

Adam – Just one?  I'd love dynamic parameters that update with the data, access to use measure names/values in calcs, anchor points on mobile, and transparent sheets.

 9. Which work of your took you the longest and what were the challenges that you faced there?

Pooja – When the data needed for a single project lies across different data sources in different departments, is when it gets difficult. But, with a resourceful team and willingness to collaborate with others, I have always been able to get things done in a timely manner.

Adam – For work, I have some dashboards that took months to gather data,requirements, design, tweak and finalize.  Some of my work content is available to the public so I had many challenges working with different bureaus in our organization, stakeholders, and auditors, etc.For fun, it would be NYC rat sightings for the 2nd round of the #IronViz competition.  I attempted to use collapsible containers with device designer and it failed horribly because of the need to fix widths at specific pixels.  I ended up getting creative and kept the collapsible containers for the desktop experience and created a completely different mobile experience using the JavaScript API and animation. I annoyed Pooja several times to test for me on her smaller android (boo) phone.  She was and always has been a great sounding board for me.

10. For the readers – what should they focus the most in Tableau to learn most?

Pooja – I suggest collaborating with power users from the community as the first step. I did this the very first week I started using Tableau and couldn't believe the support I got from people all around the world. The community is very helpful and willing to share knowledge. Taking advantage of the readily available expertise will save you time, make you effective and take you places.New technologies can seem intimidating at first, but getting help from the right people at the right time can be helpful.

Adam – Don't focus on anything difficult.  At the end of the day it is about communicating effectively.  Try and keep it simple at first, balance beauty and function, and spread your wings  as you get better.  If you see something you like, download it from public and pull it apart. Usually an author will be happy to take questions on it (within reason).

11. How much do you encourage users to be a part of events like MakeOverMonday?

Pooja – I can not stress enough, how amazing MakeoverMonday has been for my personal growth and development. The lasting connections I have made with like-minded professionals is second to none. The amount of knowledge I have gained by using different data sources and seeing how much I can push myself creatively is beyond what I imagined at first the project would allow.I strongly recommend any and all community projects as a way to learn, experience and grow within the realm of Tableau or any other technology. It not only gives you a possibility to show case your work but also allows for getting constructive feedback from industry experts.

Adam – Community projects are amazing!  Just do it!  Not only is it fun, but you will develop relationships with people across the globe.  This opens so many doors for you in the future.  All of a sudden you have an endless list of people to interact with and learn from.  I have done every #MakeoverMonday (Pooja is missing two as I write this :-O) and I can tell you it has elevated my skills beyond anything a training program can offer.  Hats off to the Andy's for doing this for the community!

12. How does it feel to be a zen master?

Pooja – Being a zen has less to do with pride and more to do with gratefulness. I am glad my efforts in the community are acknowledged and applauded but I do not think the feeling is any different than before. I still find the same joy, when I am able to help someone in need.

Adam – I will let you know if I ever become one!  I am lucky enough to be close to two zens. Pooja is my best friend and I can tell you it has not changed her one bit.  She rocked before the rock and still rocks now (but also has a rock).  I also work with Rody Zakovich so I can bounce things off him at any time.  They have both been very helpful in my development.

13. After becoming a zen master, what additional responsibilities do you have to carry on towards the tableau community?

Pooja – Zens work hard and tirelessly to inspire others in their journey. As zens,we will continue doing what we do and help other users in need. Passion is contagious, we hope to spread our love and passion for data visualization across the globe.

Adam – I am not a zen! Is this Pooja's question again?  I will answer it though.  I don't think you have a greater responsibility.  All of the work zens and other community members put in is unpaid and they do it because of their love for dataviz. I think the responsibility is to continue being yourself, continue learning, sharing knowledge, and doing what makes you happy.

14. What are your words to the aspiring zen masters? What additional do they have to do to achieve that honor?

Pooja – Be passionate. Passion is what differentiates a job vs. a hobby. Knowledge sharing makes you more knowledgeable, so share. Be approachable, if you know the product well enough, don't keep it to yourself, teach and let people reach out. Go above and beyond in your quest to learn, being content with what you know ceases growth. Above all, be humble.

Adam – Another one?  You're killing me.  Just be yourself and keep doing what got you there.

15. Lastly, few words on your experience in Austin.

Pooja – Quite a thrilling experience. My biggest highlight was getting to meet Adam, with whom I have been blogging for over 6+ months. So it was finally glad to meet him face to face.It was also great to meet other community members, who I talk to on a daily basis on social media.It is a great feeling that I know so many people now in the community who are willing to go above and beyond to help and network.I can't wait for #data17 to see all my data friends again in Las Vegas!

Adam – The conference was amazing.The main reason was I got to meet Pooja for the first time!  We have been friends for a long time, but so good to finally meet in person.We even worked on our #DearDuo data project in person!  What made the conference so special was the people.  The people in the community are awesome.  This was my 2nd conference. I spoke at the first one and I did not nearly enjoy as much as I could have.Being active in the community opened many new doors for me this year.  So participate in the community events and put yourself out there.

Pooja Gandhi

To see her on Twitter – @DrexelPooja

Check out her work on Tableau Public: https://public.tableau.com/profile/poojagandhi#!/

Adam Crahen

To see him on Twitter – @acrahen

Check out his work on Tableau Public: https://public.tableau.com/profile/adam.crahen4132#!/

 

 

 

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