Monday, 2 December 2013

Quality Father and Son (and Tableau) time

This weekend I took a trip home and at the same time, used some time with Senior Ninja (my Dad) to show him some of the work I do in Tableau. Four hours later, he was up and running and creating a visualisations on the fly.

So what did Tableau have to offer Senior Ninja?

Well first of all, Senior Ninja is a very active man in the community. He has many roles (sound engineer, theatre technician, electrical engineer... the list goes on) but one creates data... a lot of data. As part of his web design work, he has a MySQL database capturing the use of community Digital Cinemas. He has never queried this database to see what was going on because he never had the chance.

To make the Tableau example real, I took a csv extract and loaded it straight in to Tableau. In seconds we had 10,000 rows of data telling us stories: most popular films, when the equipment is used, what different locations prefer... the list goes on.

Well, just letting Senior Ninja have access to the data is useful but at the end of the day, he doesn't control the input of the data; the users do. One issue with the data is the terrible quality of the data. Easy to fix in Tableau, but it takes time, so why not incentise the users to put in top quality data?

The best way I have found to do this is to allow users to see the data they input. This is where Tableau Public comes in amazingly useful as Senior Ninja can host the visualisations alongside the data input on his website.

Making the data better, will allow for better analysis, which will allow for better use of equipment, that will support more members of the community.

Win, win, win, win, all thanks to a bit of software and some quality father and son time. 

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