Dashboard Week - Day 3 Flourish

by Alessandro Costanzo

Today my fellow cohortians and I, have caught-up with our pending dashboard week.

Before joining the DS I remember reading Dashboard Weeks posts in the blog, and often I came across articles about challenges using another visualisation tool than Tableau. The last articles I remember were based on PowerBI, so I was expecting that one of our Dashboard week day would be based on this software.

Instead, Andy and Carl managed to surprise us once more. They delegated the setting of this task to Sophie, our Community Manager.

Sophie introduced us to Flourish, a web-based data visualisation tool. After I quick intro, I was positively impressed by the animation capabilities of this tool.

The challenge that Sophie set for us, was to visualise data of the most popular baby names given in the UK. Given the time restriction, I have decided to filter my dataset to the top 10 names in London, between 1997 and 2017.

In my opinion, the tool feels very good, especially considering it is a free web-based product. The building process was very intuitive.

You can start a visualisation by picking a template, which includes actual data, and check how the different fields affect the view. You can then replace the sample data with your own dataset and start editing.

In regards to the challenges I have encountered, I would definitely place data prep in the first place. Despite the intuitiveness of the tool, the selection of field is far from dynamic, and the software does not allow to perform any kind of data prep, apart from pivoting all fields in the dataset. I, therefore, used Alteryx for all the data prep required.

The second major challenge was to get used to select options from a side bar only. After using Tableau for a long time, I became so familiar with the drag and drop concept that I found difficult to command everything from the side bar now.

Another main challenge was to get used to the tool concept. In Tableau, you would often produce many different sheets and then use them together in a dashboard. In Flourish instead, there is no such thing as dashboard and every chart is displayed singularly.

Here you can see the visualisations I have produced.

I think it is interesting to see how the name Muhammad (and its variants), entered in the ranking in 2000, and progressively gained popularity, reaching the first place in 2017.

In conclusion, I really liked this experience, testing other tools can enrich your skill set, as well as reminding why we love and we stick with Tableau.