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  • Writer's pictureSimon Beaumont

Highlighted bar charts - #SWDChallenge

The March 2018 Storytelling With Data Challenge (#SWDChallenge) was a simple one; to create a basic bar chart. It is this level of simplicity that really appeals to me about the challenges Cole sets, a simple brief allows you to focus on the chart type being the hero of the visualisation!

For my submission I chose to attempt to test the validity of the well known golfing phrase 'drive for show, putt for dough'; suggesting that trophies and prize money are won around the green as opposed to on the tee. To do this I chose to analyse the performance of golfers on the 2017 US PGA Tour using 2 metrics:

Driving - % driving accuracy

Putting - % holes one-putted

To test if the phrase 'drive for show, putt for dough' was valid I visualised the top 50 driving performers and top 50 putting performers and then highlighted any players who were in the top 50 season earners. In theory if the phrase was valid I hoped to see more of the top 50 season earners in the top 50 putters as opposed to the top 50 drivers.

I was posed with a challenge; if I wanted to keep to the brief and visualise a basic bar chart, how could I do this whilst still testing my assumption? Here are the techniques I chose to help overcome this challenge:

Using colour to highlight golfers that were relevant to my analysis

Within my title I chose to use colour to highlight one particular word, 'dough' which I then used as a common colour theme throughout my visualisation. By highlighting 'dough' in gold, a colour commonly associated with money and success, I was able to use this colour to highlight any players in the bar chart who was a top 50 season earner and avoid the need for a colour legend.

Using labels to provide further information for golfers that were relevant to my analysis

My bar chart had 100 individual data items visualised, 50 golfers' driving performance and 50 golfers' putting performance; however in reality most of these golfers were not important to my analysis as I only wanted to focus on those golfers who were in the top 50 season earners. To help the reader realise these golfers were the important ones for my analysis I chose to include the name of any of these golfers in my visualisation as a text label, embedded within the bar.

I deliberately chose not to include any additional information in the label, such as how much the featured players won or what their driving and putting performance percentages actually were, as these elements were not important to my visualisation; they added no additional value for the phrase I was trying to test. I did however include some of this additional information within the tooltip of the visualisation to allow the reader to view this, but only if they chose to do so.

Tableau technique used to display the labels for only players in the top 50 season earners

To display the label for only players in the top 50 season earners I created a Level of Detail calculation and placed this on the labels marks card:

{fixed [Player] : max(if [Metric] = 'Season earnings' and [Rank unique] <= 50 then [Player] else '' END)}

The finished visualisation is below, if you want to view the interactive version it can be found on my Tableau Public profile:!/vizhome/StoryTellingWithDataChallenge-Driveforshow_PuttfordoughUSPGA2017Playerperformanceanalysis/Dashboard2

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