A little bit about me

I guess in a way I’ve always been interested in data visualisation. I have an image in my head of one of my first attempts. I was looking to visualise the goalscorers from the 1991-92 Football League Division 4 season for Maidstone United. The vision in my mind is of a 3D, Patterned Textured, Staked Bar Chart in grayscale. If I find it in my parents loft I’ll scan it in and maybe use it as my logo. It’s a thing of beauty!

During the course of my career I have worked a lot with data and on occasion worked with Tableau to produce outputs. I’ve always really enjoyed this aspect but my output for work were always functional and rarely explored the fantastic potential Tableau has or, in fact, any design elements which I’ve come to learn are so important.

It was only really after I attended the fantastic Storytelling with Data course in 2018 with the excellent Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic that I really began to get the bug again. One of the most useful things from that course? The list of Twitter resources on the back page. I now had a place to begin!

Excellent resources list from the Storytelling with Data course

I got back home from the course and resurrected my Twitter profile page, which had been completely dormant until that point, it now had a purpose. I began following those on the list and having a look at the great content and blog articles.

Of course, the next most important thing to do, set up a Tableau Public Profile page. The first great thing about Tableau is that Tableau Public is free! What’s there to think about!

Twitter operational? Check. Tableau downloaded? Check. What next? Well, I had to actually do something. The second great thing about Tableau is the Community not only is it truly supportive and engaging but there are so many projects and programs that you can take part in. My first visualisation on Tableau Public was for the #SWDChallenge in March 2018.

Cycle Journeys in London for the #SWDChallenge – March 2028

From then on I have been gradually building up my profile, continuing to follow people on both Twitter and Tableau Public and submitting visualisations for a number of different community projects including #MakeOverMonday, #SportsVizSunday, #IronQuest and #Ironviz. All are amazing with some seriously dedicated and inspirational people supporting them. Each have their own plus points and as a way of practising visualisation skills and design techniques are incredibly useful.

The third great thing about Tableau is the Tableau User Groups (TUGs). I wouldn’t put networking particularly high up on my list of skills so I was a little nervous when I registered for my first London TUG in September 2019. I shouldn’t have worried it was a great group of friendly people and had begun to really look forward to them before lockdown kicked in. It’s a shame that they are having to be virtual at the moment. I am definitely looking forward to the day we can get back “to normal”.

As I write this, I have now 83 vizzes on my Tableau Public Profile and 120 followers. I also have 745 followers on Twitter. I am very proud of these numbers because I know the amount of hours of dedication I have put into increasing my design and visualisation skills and in some way I believe these numbers are a reflection of that.

Where will this blog go? To be honest, I’ve got no idea. For the time being I plan to just right about the visualisations I have published, my design choices and how I may have put together some of the more technical aspects. I’m hoping that even if one or two people read it and take something that it’s been worthwhile.

In time, I’d like to expand, and include sections on other great blogs that I regularly read and of course examples of visualisations that I have personally found engaging and inspirational.

Thank you for your time and do not hesitate to reach out if any questions or comments.

Simon

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