Music + Tableau

Here’s my 3rd submission for the IronViz Qualifier: LINK TO VIZ

When creating this visualization, I wanted to focus on keeping a simple design that still provides a wealth of information to the user. I recently met up with one of my Tableau mentor/friend and we chatted about what makes a GOOD visualization. I decided that there are three Ds to an effective visualization and that’s what I focused on when creating this visualization.


  1. Direction
  2. Data
  3. Design


For this IronViz qualifier, the visualization had to focus on music. It was hard not to pass up Jewel’s datasets she provided. They were so thorough and really interesting. I really enjoy Pitchfork (a music review website), and I tend to find new bands to listen to every time I visit the page. They specialize in indie rock, however, they review most genres of music. There are a few profiles that I enjoy checking out; there are people where I’ve found that I enjoy the same type of music they do.

The data that was provided was a subset of the reviews from the website. It included the Reviewers Name, the album reviewed, the rating of the artist and album, the review date, and many other really informative details. I decided on a direction: I wanted to create a visualization that easily navigates how the reviewers review and details on the review they made.


Luckily this data was pretty clean.While the charts and graphs are a key component to a good visualization, so is the narrative. I structured the data, so that depending on the filters selected, the top narrative changes.

blog_1Now, I’m going to change the date filter to only view reviewers that have 50 reviews. Notice how the bubble chart and narrative changes.


While adding reference lines are really helpful, I also wanted calculations to put in my tooltip so that the tooltip would read like a narrative and tell the user if the reviewer tend to review more/less artists than the average and if the reviewer tend to review above or below the average review score. Hover over any bubble to see how that reviewer compares to the others.



When you have a good direction and good data, you must have a good design. The pitchfork logo is simple…grey, white, red. I used that to my advantage. I used the same shade of red from the logo throughout the visualization. From tooltips to dividing the sections of the visualization and ranking albums based on the reviewer rating, that particular shade of red was able to help tell my story. Too many colors can get distracting, use one simple color as the focal point of your visualization. I touched on this in the Data section, but tooltips are also a part of the design of a good visualization. Tableau allows you to customize your tooltips. Utilize this feature to tell a story to your audience and reduce the clutter of your visualization. I like to use the tooltip to explain where I got the data from and explain the purpose of the visualization.When you hover over the Pitchfork logo, you get an explanation of the data and visualization.

There is beauty in simplicity.
Don’t forget that when building your next viz.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: