Year in Review, Top 10 Playfair+ Tutorials of 2023

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It’s hard to believe that another year has gone by and 2024 is just around the corner. While we are excited and preparing for 2024, we recognize that it is also important to reflect on the past year’s successes. To name just a few of the many accomplishments in 2023, the Playfair Data team added a variety of new world-class tools to the suite of Playfair+ products and tutorials, had five projects longlisted in the “Information is Beautiful” awards, developed a new chart type called the “Pilula Chart”, led impactful consulting engagements, including the development and analysis of occupational mobility patterns within the NFL, spent time volunteering for local charities in both our hometowns of Kansas City and Orlando, were recognized by Ingram’s Corporate Report 100 as being ranked among the top ten fastest growing private companies in Kansas City, and secured a spot on the Inc. 5000 list for the second consecutive year.

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We have definitely been given some incredible opportunities, all thanks to our diverse and talented team who, on top of everything else, still managed to author 40 new innovative written tutorials.

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As tradition holds, we will be sharing our top ten Playfair+ tutorials of the past year along with some observations to provide insight into what the visual analytics community has found valuable and where current trends might be heading. To analyze and rank the most popular Playfair+ tutorials of 2023, we will be using a scoring system called the tutorial scorecard. Here is how we measured the performance of this year’s top-10 tutorials:

The tutorial scorecard explained

The tutorial scorecard this year consists of three metrics: users, sessions, and pageviews. It takes all three metrics into account through the use of Tableau’s native Rank table calculation. Each tutorial’s rank compared to its peers is summed across each metric into the ‘Tutorial Score’. The tutorial with the lowest ‘Tutorial Score’ is considered to be the best-performing tutorial.

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The top 10 Playfair+ tutorials of 2023

How to do Advanced Dynamic Zone Visibility in Tableau

Author: Alyssa Huff, Senior Manager of Information Design 

Released with version 2022.3, Dynamic Zone Visibility is a relatively new feature in Tableau. Sheet swapping is just one of many ways to utilize the Dynamic Zone Visibility feature, so in this post, Alyssa explores two additional ways to improve UX and wow users with dashboard interactivity. 


3 Creative Ways to Visualize Outliers in Tableau

Author: Ethan Lang, Director of Analytics Engineering

Ethan walks through three ways to identify outliers in Tableau and how to visualize each. By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to use standard deviations, median with quartiles, and Z-scores to flag outliers in your data and present them visually to your stakeholders.


How to Use Tableau’s Dynamic Zone Visibility to Highlight Selected Measures

Author: Dan Bunker, Senior Visual Analytics Associate

Delve into an innovative button technique that leverages Dynamic Zone Visibility, combining various elements such as image objects, blank sheets, parameters, and dashboard actions. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll have gained the expertise to apply Dynamic Zone Visibility in your Tableau projects, enhancing interactivity and making your dashboards stand out. 


Statistical Tableau: How to Analyze Distribution with Histogram

Author: Ethan Lang, Director of Analytics Engineering

There are many times when performing data analysis when we may want to view the distribution of our data. In this tutorial, Ethan will show you how to create a histogram, while also walking you through different types of data distribution.


3 Innovative Ways to Use Image Role in Tableau

Author: Felicia Styer, Associate Director of Analytics Solutions

In version 2022.4, Tableau Desktop introduced us to a brand new feature: Image Role. This UX-enhancing tool allows users to display images as dimensions by including image URLs in datasets. By the end of this tutorial, you will be able to use the Image Role feature in Tableau Desktop to map flags, custom branding, and/or avatars.


How to Color Goal Surpluses / Budget Excesses in Tableau Bar Charts

Author: Ryan Sleeper, Founder and Principal

Great visualizations answer the question – “Compared to what?” – without making users expend much effort uncovering their next actionable insight. This tutorial will show you how to use dual-axis bar charts along with a tricky calculated field to cap values, to color a goal surplus, or color a budget excess.


Introducing Pilula (aka Dr. Mario Charts) in Tableau

Author: Rafael Simancas, Manager of Information Design

We are excited to introduce a new way to bring your data to life. Our Pilula chart innovation has proven that our collaboration tactics can generate the best ideas when presented with a problem we all know very well: How can we best visualize the data we have? 

In this post, you will learn about Pilula (aka Dr. Mario) charts, the behind-the-scenes making of a new visualization, and how to implement the chart type in your Tableau reports.


3 Ways to Wow Stakeholders with Figma

Author: Zoya Zafar, Visual Analytics Architect

When it comes to demonstrations, it goes without saying that you want your stakeholders to walk away “wowed.” But what is the best way to accomplish that? There are many tools out there, but Figma, a powerful UI/UX tool, has quickly become the go-to tool for our design team due to its versatility and ease of use.


3 More Way to Make Lovely Line Graphs in Tableau

Author: Alyssa Huff, Senior Manager of Information Design

Add a few more line graphs to your visualization toolkit as Alyssa walks you through three examples in this tutorial: highlighting a dimension group member, toggling historical data on and off, and coloring based on a measure category.



How to Use Dynamic URL Actions in Tableau

Author: Megan Spengler, Visual Analytics Associate

In this tutorial, Megan will show you how to create a more engaging user experience by combining parameter actions with dynamic URL actions, and tips to keep in mind when creating dynamic URL actions. 


2023 Playfair+ tutorial observations

  • The team authored 10 more tutorials in 2023 than in 2022.
  • The team authored two Playfair+ tutorials on Tableau’s new Dynamic Zone Visibility feature and both were in the top three most popular for the year. It is clear that the data community has recognized that dynamic zone visibility has opened up a world of new possibilities for advanced user experience within Tableau and could possibly be one of the most important Tableau innovations.
  • The visual analytics community is seeking a more diverse range in content as we experienced a surge in popularity amongst data engineering and design related topics as these two categories made up four of the top ten posts of the year.
  • Line graphs continue being an evergreen topic as our newest line graph tutorial, 3 More Ways to Make Lovely Line Graphs in Tableau, placed in the top ten. 
  • The Tableau community found our latest invention, the “Pilula Chart”, valuable as it placed in the top ten most popular. 


Closing statements for 2023

After a year of so many accomplishments, we cannot wait to see what 2024 holds for Playfair Data and the rest of the data community! To stay up on the latest news, sign up to receive our weekly emails and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Tableau Public, and Instagram for daily updates.

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Thanks for coming alongside our team on the journey in 2023, and we will see you in the new year!

– Dan and the rest of the team at Playfair Data

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