My vision for this viz was pretty simple. I thought it would be fun to keep track of who I want to connect with at Tableau Conference 2018 (#TC18), and maybe break it down by how I know them or if I have yet to meet them, where I saw them in the conference center, and what day.
One day the song "One Way or Another" by Blondie popped into my head, and I was curious if the lyrics would be in any way applicable to my viz.
There it was, right there in verse 2:
One way or another, I'm gonna see ya' I'm gonna meet ya', meet ya', meet ya', meet ya'Perfect. I had the seeds for my viz.
First, it had to be black. Because, you know, rock and roll! I used that line of the song as introductory text for my viz and quickly found a great free picture of Blondie on wikicommons.com.
Now for the viz...
The vision in my head was a waffle chart that would change colors as I met people. But waffle charts use 100 as their benchmark and I had around 120 people to meet. I could have used fancy math, but I would have ended up with fractions of people, and who wants to meet 20% of a person?
So, whole people. That's settled. But what should they look like? Bars? Circles?
Well, I'm not entirely sure why, but neither bars nor circles worked out. The bar had the right total, but looked like one gigantic person. The circles ended up as just one big fat round person. Even with Twitter handles on detail.
So...jitter? That worked to an extent, but ended up looking like a bunch of round circle people standing on each other's shoulders or laying side by side, ready to be steamrolled.
And then, quite by accident, I took something off my viz and saw exactly what I was looking for. Lots of nicely separated individual dots. It was at this point that I turned them into people.
I played around a bit with the color choice and ultimately settled on something in the color blind palette that looked good on a black background.
Early on in the viz design, I knew I wanted music. Turns out, that's more tricky than I thought. I read a lot of blogs, but I think perhaps something has changed with Spotify players, I'm not sure. I almost resorted to using someone's cover from SoundCloud, because the YouTube link kept crashing on me too.
So here's my tip... my player is NOT the embedded YouTube player. It's an image, with a URL link attached. Turns out that if you follow a web link to an external page to play a YouTube video, it works just fine.
This duct tape and chewing gum method ended up having a bonus feature. When I determined that my little people were a little boring without DOING anything, I figured it might be nice to link to people's Twitter profiles. Uh oh, Houston, we have a problem. At the time I was attempting this, I was using YouTube's web player as a web page in the dashboard. So any time I clicked on a Twitter link, it passed to that window and messed up my video player.
So my workaround of using an image with a link attached was initially created to avoid having a web page inside the dashboard that was confusing for Tableau. And, as it happens, it made my player more reliable as well. (Spotify worked for a time, but after publishing it just kept asking me to log back in. Blech.)
In order to see days in advance, before I'd met people, I needed a second data source with all the dates in it. I did a right-join to that data source and voila! Problem solved.
But I didn't really like that before I met people they were all huddled under a giant NULL header, so here's how I got around that: