There is a General Election taking place in Ireland in two days’ time and I happened upon an interesting data set on The Irish Times website this week and thought it would be good to do examples of Viz Animations in Tableau. They had visualised the data in various ways using Datawrapper and one of the data-sets was available to download. It tracked all the polls from the Irish times from 2007 to 2020. There has been some notable movement in terms of the party positions in advance of the upcoming election and I thought a bar chart race using viz animations might be an interesting way to visualise the data. There has been much discussion lately around this visualisation type. Please see the post on Reddit’s ban of this chart type and Andy Cotgreave’s post for example.

I’d been meaning to carve out some time to test the Viz Animations in Tableau features due to be included in the next release (check it the pre-release program here if you’re interested). Mark Bradbourne‘s blog post in relation to company strategies around viz animations appeared in my Twitter feed and put it to the top of my list! One of the features I was keen to test was the much awaited viz animations. I’d seen a video where Tableau Software Engineer Victoria Wagner demonstrated this feature at the annual conference. I decided to experiment with viz animations using the polling data and also planned to create an interactive dashboard which would allow people to explore the data in their own time. The below gif demonstrates the use of animations in Tableau, where I’m cycling through the various polling dates.


Viz Animations in Tableau example 2


I’ve enjoyed experimenting with Viz Animations in Tableau feature so far. I’ve explored its use in two key ways

  1. Through using the ‘Pages’ shelf whereby you can iterate through various states of your data
  2. Changing the state of a view through filtering using dimensions in the data

Number 1 above is the route to go if you want to create a bar chart race. There are a few different approaches that can be taken. Andy Cotgreave offers one approach here. There is a slight variation of this outlined in a video available if you register for the pre-release program. I’ll be adding to this blog with my own ‘how-to’ post once this feature has been released so watch this space. So far I like the look and feel of this feature, but I would not want to use it in every scenario. I believe it will offer an interesting way to engage and present data to others.

I’ve created an interactive dashboard which you can see below. One way to interact is to highlight a party and see the historic trend, in terms of the actual support percentages and the overall ranking. You can also click anywhere on the line chart, and the breakdown by party is provided below (I did this using parameter actions).

You can explore on Tableau Public here.

Viz Animations in Tableau example 1



Thanks for reading!