Dear Data - Test Week

by Ben Moss

A few weeks ago Coach Kriebal sat DS2 down and forced us to watch his mamblings at the 2015 Tableau Conference (in all seriousness, it’s well worth a watch, especially those interested in Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec’s Dear Data project… It was also my suggestion to watch it).

I knew some information about the Dear Data project prior to this through Andy’s blog but watching this presentation bought it to the forefront of my mind, the project was fun, creative and challenging. The thing I liked most though was the projects ability to engage those who may those perhaps not usually interested in data. The entirety of Andy and Jeff Shafer’s families appeared to be involved in the project, helping design (and sometimes do, when they were both feeling lazy) their post cards.

I decided that I wanted to join the fun and decided to text my girlfriend to see if she would participate.

Prior to the original project Giorgia and Stefanie knew very little about each other personally, apart from their love for creative data visualisation. Ofcourse myself and Charlotte (my girlfriend) do know each other well, but given our new situation (me relocating 130 miles away), I thought this would be a fun, creative task that would allow us to communicate regarding aspects of our lives in a deeper, quantitative way.

I also hoped it would help Charlotte engage with data and how fun working with data can be.

We decided to complete a test week, and I got to decide the topic, sleep. I gave her a brief on the idea of Dear Data along the lines of ‘you need to collect data on your sleep, visualise it on a post card and send it to me, oh and heres a link to the project’.

So here are the post cards (this will be the first time she has seen mine as I have yet to post it!):

Charlotte’s post card:

Charlie Post Card

My post card:

Ben postcard

Charlotte is a textiles student so it is of little wonder that hers appears a lot more creative than mine. I also like despite the very breif, breif, of ‘the topic is sleep’ she has added descriptive information that helps allow for a deeper dive.

Mine in comparison is very simple. I think this contrast was caused by a combination of two things, firstly my lack of creative talent, and secondly my knowledge of Tableau and how it works compared with her non-knowledge of Tableau whatsoever. Basically, I was being lazy, and didn’t want to spend hours recreating my work.

I must say, I won’t be being lazy in future with this project. Completing Charlotte’s card in Tableau may have been complex and challenging, but it has enhanced my understanding of Tableau, and the way it likes to read data so much more than my own simple bar chart.

The below images show the completed Tableau post cards:

Tableau post cards - Sleep

I think it’s safe to say we are in this for the full 52 week stint after receiving a text from my girlfriend on Saturday night demanding another project.


I look forward to blogging again soon, we have decided our next topic will be ‘5 a day’, and as usual, feedback and questions are welcome 🙂


Thu 25 Feb 2016

Wed 24 Feb 2016

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