Association Analytics Blog

Associations Tableau User Group Covers Best Practices in Visualizations and Advanced Analytics

Oct 26, 2016 10:09:51 AM / by Tori Liu

The Associations Tableau User Group met in Chicago on October 13, 2016. Formed in August 2016, the Associations Tableau User Group (AssocTUG) serves as a platform for association professionals using Tableau to network and learn.  The group meets quarterly in Washington, DC and periodically in Chicago. If you missed the Chicago meeting, here's a recap of some key takeaways.

Association Analytics® was proud to sponsor the meeting in Chicago. Association Analytics® co-founded AssocTUG and currently serves on the planning committee for AssocTUG.

Best Practices in Visualizations

Matthew Illuzzi reviewed some best practices in visualizations. Don’t just recreate a spreadsheet in Tableau. When developing a visualization consider your audience and what will resonate with them. Focus on telling a story. If you're feeling lost, Tableau offers a ton of great educational resources.

Analytics for the 99%

Christopher Michaelson, Data Analytics Manager at the National Futures Association, shared how he introduced Tableau and data analytics to his organization. His goal was to reach "self-service nirvana" where everyone had access to data analytics and used data to make decisions.

Getting Started

To start, NFA purchased only a few Tableau Desktop licenses. They used Tableau Reader, which is free and allows users to open packaged Tableau workbooks, to give staff access to visualizations. Chris distributed packaged workbooks on SharePoint. Chris noted that managing multiple workbooks this way can be difficult to manage. He recommended considering Tableau Server licenses when managing multiple workbooks in this way is no longer a viable option. NFA publishes data sources to the server now, but eventually wants to get a data warehouse.

Designing Visualizations

Michaelson recommended focusing on creating beautiful and simple designs. Less is more in data visualizations. He also focuses heavily on usability and looks at minimizing how many clicks it takes to get an answer. He leverages Tableau strengths. Tableau is not designed to handle tabular views. Echoing Illuzzi, Michaelson warned against trying to recreate Excel in Tableau.

Most importantly, Michaelson said that information presented in data visualizations has to be timely and relevant. Does the data visualization solve a problem or create more work? Would stakeholders adopt the data visualization voluntarily? The fastest way to spark interest is to build visualizations that people will want and need.

Matt Lesnak presenting at AssocTUGAdvanced Analytics and Tableau

Did you know that you can use Tableau for advanced analytics, like propensity modeling and predictive analytics, by connecting it to the statistical computing tool R? Association Analytics® Senior Analytics Architect Matt Lesnak provided an overview for how you can connect R to Tableau to handle advanced analysis. Lesnak shared a demonstration of how he used a model created in R to populate a data visualization in Tableau that used unstructured data from social media.

Get Involved with Associations Tableau User Group

Don't miss the next AssocTUG meeting on November 16, 2016, 1:30-4:30 p.m. at the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (1801 K St NW, Suite 700K, Washington, DC 20006). Register and learn more.

Join the AssocTUG online community to stay up-to-date on the latest group activities and connect with other Tableau users in the association community.

Topics: Business Intelligence, Change Management

Tori Liu

Written by Tori Liu