My relationship with Data has always been an unhealthy one, a love/ hate kind of relationship with happy and frustrating days in the mix.
On my Uni days, when data was presented in a monochromatic colour palette and pie charts were literally used as if they were Portuguese custard tarts – we could not have enough of them – I would avidly welcome those dull charts of tedious information as a seven year old would welcome the illustration page on his reading book. Not because I thought that data should be presented on a dull and automated manner for the information to be taken seriously but because those charts were beautifully wrapped by an idyllic generous white space that was a sight for sore eyes. After reading inexhaustible anatomical descriptions of “The Gray’s Anatomy”, I would allocate 15 minutes of ‘undivided attention’ to any diagram that would break up the four column layout of small font sized descriptions.
The two to three hours weekly ‘overdose’ of monotone analysis of dusty and chart cluttered transparencies has not helped my data infatuation. There were times where that extra Bell Curve would come as a dagger to the heart. The auditorium would fill with despair that would only be comforted by the occasional molecular structure that was used to ‘lighten up’ the presentation.
No surprise then, when I would associate data to something with a great potential to be boring and fastidious but nonetheless of extreme importance in evidence based clinical practice.
Fortunately, after stumbling upon Tableau accidentally I was able to change my misconstrued association. This BI software has effectively changed my relationship with data, not only at professional level but also as a hobby. The user -friendly interface and slick design has already allowed me to create eye catching visualizations confidently, drawing meaningful insights within minutes and with few clicks of a button
In addition, the supportive and high spirited community that has grown around this software and the endless possibilities of the product is what makes it so enticing and exceptional to me. With Tableau Desktop I can build dashboards as an Interior Designer would create a project; using principles of colour, repetition, texture and pattern I can guide the viewer’s eyes through the dashboard as he was walking through an uncluttered room with eye-catching details that would make him want to interact with the space and investigate further. Or I can use my love for writing and storytelling to create a numerical narrative with introduction, development and conclusion. Numbers have never been more fun.
Everything has now become quantifiable and with real potential to be converted into a Tableau visualization. The discovery of the stories behind the numbers and the numbers behind the stories has now changed my relationship status with data and I can officially say: in a relationship.