Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jittery Charts - Why They Dance and How to Stop Them

Tableau makes it so easy to create truly high quality visualizations that reveal valuable insights.

Combining individual vizzes into dashboards is a good thing. But it's not nearly as easy as it should be.

This post covers one of the subtle yet significant barriers to creating the highest possible visual quality presentations — chart jittering.

I've spent too much time trying to get the various components in my dashboards to be visually stable, both internally and with respect to their alignments with one another.

The following Tableau Public-published workbook contains my findings into trying to puzzle out this mysterious behavior, and what can be done about it.

One of the things that makes puzzling this out difficult and tricky is the sensitivity of the jitters to the context that the individual chart is presented in. It's particularly vexing that seemingly simple and innocuous dashboard changes can alter the jittering behavior of the charts it contains. I'm confident that I've only scratched the surface of everything there is to discover and document on the issue, but at some point enough is enough, particularly when a solution that works in the scenarios I've tested it is at hand.

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