The Iron Viz feeder competition is a great learning experience and I encourage anyone interested to participate, even if you are new to Tableau. This round served as a reminder for me the importance of adequately timing when vizzing in Tableau, or really working on any project. I often find that ideas will strike a day or two later and the iterative nature of Tableau allows you to keeps building on your dashboard. Unfortunately, I did not leave myself any extra days to reflect on my work, and I ended up revizzing my own Iron Viz entry after the deadline. The reason for my reviz was because I felt that the dashboard needed a better flow to convey the story. I wanted the dashboard to be better able to stand on its own.
One of the reasons I love data visualization is that it allows you tell a story with data; however, you must present your story in a way that it is clear to the audience. After revisiting my entry, I decided I could do a better job guiding the audience through my story. While I felt it was clear when I was guiding the story to a family member or friend, I was concerned others would not gain the insights. As a result, I decided to reviz the dashboard adding a more of a directed flow. My reviz was inspired by the entries from Robert Rouse (who ultimately won the feeder contest, congrats!) and Curtis Harris who both used story points to encourage interaction/progression throughout their dashboards.
The graphics in my reviz mostly did not change from the original. There were a few new visuals, but the biggest changes were stating the question I sought to answer at the top of each dashboard, and cleaning up the backgrounds—eliminating excess noise. With the questions set I can walk the audience through the story with my visuals.
On the first dashboard I uncovered there are certain words that are used with high frequency among both parties, such as “I”, “people” and “government” but other words such as “law” was used noticeable more often by republicans than democrats.
The next area that I wished to explore was if there was a noticeable correlation between the rhetoric in the presidents’ speeches and the world events that were on the minds of the American people. My guess was yes, but wanted to prove it with data. Two interesting insights I uncovered was the peak in the usage of the word “peace” in 1945, and the disappearance of the word “constitution.” Using the graphic in the bottom third of the dashboard one can trace the ramped up usage of the word peace back to key events in 1945: the year which the U.S. dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima ending World War II and when the United Nations was formed. It is clear why peace would have been a key talking point for an incoming president.
I also thought it was interesting that the word constitution severely dropped off in popularity prior to the 1900s and never returned as a focal point on this stage. Constitution saw its greatest mentions during the 1857 and 1861 speeches around the time of slavery abolitionist movements.
I enjoyed making this dashboard as it was a new challenge for me: quantifying qualitative data. While I am not a political junkie, I certainly learned a bit as a result of this project. I encourage everyone to step outside their comfort zone when vizzing and tackle a new, different topic. It will help you hone your story telling skills as the foreign topic will help make sure your message is clear.