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  • Writer's pictureSimon Beaumont

Game. Tableau Set. and Match

On January 1st 2018, Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor retired from the Professional Darts Corporation, ending a career that spanned over 30 years during which time Taylor regularly dominated the order of merit and end of season playing statistic league tables.

To celebrate Taylor’s illustrious and record breaking career I recently created a Tableau Public viz; sharing some of his key achievements and highlighting his domination of the sport.

This blog post describes a particular technique used within my ‘The Power’ visualisation; the use of colour and sets to highlight key messages.

My viz approach

When designing the visualisation I knew I wanted to include a large number of statistics about Taylor’s career and as such there would be an inherent risk that the viz could become cluttered and difficult for the reader to identify the key messages.

I decided to overcome this through a consistent use of colour and also the use of sets in Tableau.

What is a set?

A set is a custom field that defines a subset of data based upon a specified condition. This condition could be a computed condition or specified data items within your data set.

Computed condition: Using my visualisation as an example, the use of a computed condition to define a set, would be identifying every season that Taylor achieved a season 3 dart average of 100 or more. Tableau would identify any season meeting this criteria and assign those seasons with a True condition, with all other seasons being assigned a False condition.

Specified data items: Again using my visualisation as an example, I analysed the times when Taylor achieved a televised nine dart finish, the perfect darting leg.

On one occasion Taylor achieved two nine dart finishes during a single televised match.

I wanted to highlight this achievement so, in this instance, I selected the date of this match and used that data item to define a set.

How did I use sets and colour together?

Taylor’s domination of the darting world peaked during the late 1990s and early 2000s. During this time his darting livery used an electric blue for colour and as such I decided the same electric blue would be used as the colour to highlight key messages in my viz.

When presenting analysis of a particular statistic or achievement I utilised sets to identify data points that were to be highlighted, i.e. the True condition for the set, whilst all other data points were allocated to the False condition.

By placing the set onto the colour marks card I could colour that aspect of the visualisation by the True and False condition; allowing me to highlight the achievement by assigning the electric blue colour to the True condition.

In addition to the highlighted chart, I provided further narrative on the key achievements through text below each chart and again I utilised the electric blue colour for this narrative; allowing the reader to easily identify which data points were being highlighted for each key message, and more importantly, what the key messages were.

The end result was a visualisation that utilised a minimal number of different colours, and by doing so, in my opinion, resulted in the reader being guided through the visualisation, allowing them to focus on key messages and as such gain a greater appreciation of Taylor’s incredible career achievements.

To view my Tableau Public visualisation please click on the following link:

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