LEO – #RealTableau to Funviz

flow diagramv2

What is this post about?

LEO is back again as the topic of this #VisualisingHE blog post. Why? Tableau Zen Master Chris Love nicely pricked my attention with his tweet:

chris tweet

Charlie Hutcheson among many others have engaged with this great conversational starter and call out for some ‘real life’ examples of Tableau in the wild. For Charlie this ended his blog posting hiatus and encouraged him to write a great post Hiatus over thanks to #RealTableau along with sharing a flurry of superb examples of #RealTableau dashboards on Twitter.

For me, this prompted me to share one of my viz by day V’s viz by night Tableau endeavours. Often my #VisualisingHE vizzes are spawned from #Dataviz by day dashboards. #Dataviz by night explorations both deepen my understanding of a dataset and further my own data visualisation skills (often allowing my more creative streak to get an airing). The LEO data set is becoming my favourite of late, it is interesting and very topical in the current HE environment due to the introduction of TEF. The LEO dataset is public and therefore lends itself perfectly for this blog post about my flow from #RealTableau to a Funviz, showcasing vastly different approaches to data visualisation.

This blog post focuses on telling the story of the evolution of an idea, highlighting how much I value the #VisualisingHE project which encourages me to practice my Tableau skills and benefit from constructive critique.

A little intro to the dataset

In case you haven’t read my previous blog on Introducing LEO’s Graduate Earnings, the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) data enables us to know how much UK graduates of different subjects at different universities are earning now, either one, three or five years since graduating. It does this by linking up tax, benefits, and student loans data”. (WONKHE beginners guide to LEO).

#RealTableau to Funviz

#Dataviz by day

1. #RealTableau viz. This standard functional data visualisation is designed to give a user an overview of an single entity (HE provider) performances against a sector benchmark (median annual earnings post graduation), display the difference against the benchmark (£) and clearly highlight the subjects performing above and below the benchmark. (blue v’s grey). #barchart

Interact with the viz on Tableau Public:

LEO Provider vs GB Sector earnings_#RealTableau

Provider vs Serctor Median Ann Earnings by Subject area_realTableau

1 – #RealTableau

2. #RealTableau viz. This visualisation provides insight into the distribution of earning differences in relation to benchmark earnings for a particular subject. The business wished to understand a providers positioning within the range of differences in earnings across the sector, the viz allows for the selection of a specific provider (displayed as a larger dot in the plot). #boxplot

UEA difference

2 – #RealTableau difference

Punch the time card and head for home.

Que #dataviz by night

3. Searching for a better vantage point to see the data. Whilst the established #RealTableau vizzes provide insight into the relative performances of a single HE provider against a benchmark (per subject area), I wanted to get a better sense of the whole sector in one visual, so I started to try a few things out and explore the data.

This working viz provides you with actual earnings, difference AND the provider names, yet still this only looked at a single subject area of study at a time. I really want to get an understanding of the differences in salaries by provider and region in one visual.

sample bar

3 – Searching for the stat

4. Looking for inspiration I posted a few visuals to my friends and fellow #VisualisingHE comrades to see if they had any bright ideas.

Dave posted back with a short and sweet…. “I’ve got an idea but it will mess with your head”… #radialbarchart

daves radial idea

4 – Looking to #VisualisingHE for inspiration

He was absolutely right, a lovely challenge and a chart type I haven’t yet tried in Tableau, this should be perfect for presenting a ‘difference’ in earnings. Slightly less functional than the bar (4) but much more fun.

5. OK I know why I haven’t done one before… Math! Luckily Rajeev Pandy has written a fantastic blog about it and Charlie Hucheson had done a great take-apart Tuesday on a Radial Bar chart which should, in theory, allow for some pretty crude blind method copying.

Evening 1: didn’t go so well – more reading required! Confirmation that I need to understand these calculations rather than simply employing the blind copy and paste method! #notabigloverofunderstandingmathbecauseimreallyjustamusicanandloverofstorytelling

Frustrations messaged to team #VisualisingHE, met with encouraging words and support! Cheers peeps!

Que a bit more googling and a little read of Charlie’s blog to see if I pick up any pointers as to what I really need to understand and what I can just gloss over!

6. Evening 2: and the light bulb moment…………The issue was not the calcs, but simply that when reshaping the data – duplicating it up adding a reference id of 1 and 0 (necessary for this chart type), tableau brought the 0 and 1 identifier in as a number, you need to make this a dimension not a measure. Once this was on the worksheet, I got magical fireworks going off. #Wine


6 – Light Bulb moment

Happy faces and gifs galore from #VisualisingHE

7. Understanding the calcs and working out what they are doing in the chart (inner and outer radius). #justplayingandmakingprettypictures


7 – Pretty pictures

8. Utilising the ‘combine fields’ functionality in Tableau to get control of the lines and groupings of the data.

region coloured

8 – Controlling colour

9. Had a bit of a play with sorting. Firstly I wished to see if I could bring to life Dave’s drawing (4) but also wondered if it would read better if the differences were sorted by +/- sector median. #seashellaccidentalviz


9 – seashells and sorting

10. One big picture… Explorations in trying to present all the subject level data and the regional grouping splits together in one viz? #onebigpicture #fireworks


10 – One big picture

11. I love accidents! Whilst playing with the viz messing about changing the chart type I stumbled on changing the line chart to be a square, oh how pretty! #accidentalart #uselessbutpretty

when vizzes go funky

11 – #Accidentalart

12. Back on focus. Having settled on presenting the regional groups by use of colour, I set out on multiplying the sheets, to create a grid of radial bar charts in small multiples. I did need to unpick the ‘normalising calc’ in the viz to set it to a max difference for all the charts, so that they could be compared together in one viz.


12 – Pretty Happy with the look and feel

Next steps: A message out to #VisualisingHE seeking thoughts and comments on what’s missing in the viz. And help sizing the viz.

13. The value of friends to critique your viz is something I never underestimate. Dave sketched out his thoughts on the need for a top section of the viz to allow me to annotate the viz, describe how to read the chart and allow for space for the interactive highlights and filters to have their space in the viz. Elena on hand for #Vizoftheday advice on longer form vizzes and feedback. #whatthisprojectisfor

how about this final iterations

13 – Feedback and further thoughts

14. Ideas and comments. (13) Brought to life in Tableau.


14 – Added context

15. Funviz. The finished viz | LEO Provider vs GB Sector earnings_Infographic (click to interact with viz in Tableau Public)


15 – Fun viz

Hope this post has been interesting, and you have enjoyed following my flow of ideas and iteration with this particular dataset #RealTableau to Funviz

Adam #VisualisingHE




4 thoughts on “LEO – #RealTableau to Funviz

  1. […] the salary data (which Adam did a superb job vizzing here) this metric is not going to grab the attention quite as easily. The metric is sustained employment […]


  2. […] My favourite post and viz was my post on LEO – #Realtableau to funviz . […]


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