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Guided activity: Explore a demo tableau workbook |DEL3 FCA|

Guided activity: Explore a demo tableau workbook

Scenario: This activity is for exploration of the Tableau application.

We will use a sample tableau packaged workbook (twbx) for this purpose, which contains worksheets of individual data visualisations, dashboards, and a story. As this workbook is published on Tableau public it can be opened for exploration in either Tableau desktop or Tableau public, or on the Tableau public browser.

About the data: The database contains sales data for a company which imports and exports speciality foods and drinks, including information about products, customers, suppliers, and shipping- who bought what? Where was it sent from via and to? Along with key dates like order required and ship date. With this data you can also track the sales team performance – how many orders did each employee win? What was the volume, quantity, and price of those orders?

  1. Start Tableau and choose Open from the File menu.

  2. Browse to the demo content folder and open Demo_NWind.twbx.

  3. The landing page is a dashboard about product freight – how much is shipped when, to where in the world and for which customer.

  4. Hover over the colourful tree map sections with your mouse to change the word cloud top customers to match the product. Focus on the Dairy Products section and hover still over that category. What indicator do you have that the two charts now align?

  5. Note the pop-up tooltip you will see because you have stayed on Dairy. This contains a month-day highlight table for order quantity of Dairy products. Which day of the week in which month is the darkest/brightest colour? Which month has a high Sunday order volume rate for Dairy?

  6. If you now click on the Dairy Products section so that it is highlighted, notice that there are some options now at the top of the tooltip – look at the icons. One of the options will take you to an explanation of the selection, another to the underlying data summary and rows- which icons do you think those are?

  7. Keeping Dairy selected, what’s happened to the map now? If you don’t remember, click on the Dairy section once more to clear your filter, and then select dairy one more time to re-apply the visual filter. To which country is the highest volume of Dairy Products shipped? What about the second or third top? You can use the tooltip to confirm the values if the circles are a similar size.

  8. Can you spot the total freight and quantity values for Dairy? These are displayed as KPIs which change with your filter selections. How does the total Dairy freight compare to the Seafood total freight?

  9. Notice the time series plot at the foot of the dashboard changes when you select the product category on the tree map. Selecting in one other viz in the dashboard will cause that time series chart to be filtered. Can you find out which one?

  10. Focusing on the timeline, can you see how to filter on Confections products which were shipped to the USA? In which week does the freight volume peak for this selection, and does this appear to align with the quantity sold? What could this possibly tell you about the confection products shipped during that week? Are there any other possible explanations? To clear your line chart selection, click into white space somewhere in the plot– in the map this normally means clicking on the ocean.

  11. Sometimes when you design a data visualisation you need to be mindful of how much screen real estate you can work with. There is a viz in this dashboard which will not reset to show all the data and retains a filter by product category. Can you see which one and can you propose any reasons why that may be?

  12. Now let’s leave the Freight dashboard behind. Using the navigator tab on the foot of the workbook, you can switch to the next worksheet called ‘Country, Product Freight Volumes’. Here you will find some of the same data as you encountered in the dashboard but as a single interactive chart which allows you to drill into selected salesperson, review the freight volumes of product categories they have sold to all or specified customers in a certain date range. 

    You can identify sheets, dashboards and stories from the tabs along the bottom of the Tableau window.  Sheets do not have an icon; dashboards have a grid icon and stories have an open book.

  13. When exploring a single viz in Tableau Desktop it can be helpful to switch to presentation view, which hides all the canvas/ design elements. This can be switched on by selecting the last icon on the toolbar or typing F7. Use escape to leave presentation mode and return to the normal screen.

  14. Select Nancy from the Salesperson drop down filter. Along the X axis we have the countries shipped to. To see the total freight Nancy has sent to Brazil you should select the Brazil label on the X axis label to highlight this country and note the values which appear in the tooltip. What is Nancy’s biggest product category to Brazil in terms of freight? Does this align with the whole sales team?

  15. Staying with Nancy – select the customer ‘Around the Horn’ – which country is that shipped to? Note the different filter appearance between customers and salesperson – what is the functional difference in those two filters.

  16. Reset the worksheet filters back to ALL except for the Required Date filter – this shows the date the customer needed the product to be delivered by. Select less dates in the range filter by moving the slider or selecting inside the calendars when you click on each date. We want to see everything up to a required date of 30 September 2020, a few months after the business started. How many countries had the company shipped to at that stage and which was the biggest market (country) for them?

  17. One last interaction in this worksheet. Keeping the date filter in place and the other set to ALL – select Brazil on the x axis label with a double click. This should select only Brazil in the canvas. You can also right click and keep only. How many ship-to customers are shown in the drop-down list now after you have selected Brazil and a subset of dates? This keep only action can be scary, but it can be reversed using the very helpful UNDO arrow, top left of the toolbar, or Ctrl+z. Before leaving the worksheet see if you can restore all the filters to the defaults.

  18. Final stage of this guided exploration – turn your attention to the Story ‘Shipping Review’ which you will find on the last tab of the workbook. Stories in Tableau, unlike dashboards, are designed for following step by step rather than exploring independently. What you will do here Is click through the story dots above the title page and see if you can follow and agree with the findings shared on each page of the story.

  19. Think about what the business might do with the information identified in the story. Are there any potential actionable insights?

  20. Great! Now that you have explored a sample of the visualisations in this Tableau workbook, you can take some time to explore more tabs at your own pace. Grab a pad of paper and a pen now to take notes ready for whiteboarding with your class. See if you can discover your own answers to the following questions:

  • Who is the best salesperson by the average price they charge? What about the quantity they have sold?
  • In how many months has Andrew exceeded the company 10% customer discount target?
  • In which product categories has Margaret not been the top salesperson? Who is her competitor?
  • What’s the most expensive product sold?
  • Which UK customer had to wait nearly 40 days(!) for their shipment to arrive?
  • What category of product did the pleasingly named ‘Berglunds snabbköp’ buy the most? And what was the highest unit price in that category?
  • Laura gave a 25% discount to two customers on products which were not later discontinued. To which customers?
  • You can close Tableau without saving any changes and the workbook will be available with default settings when you next want to explore it. If you do want to save some changes, perhaps your filtered results and findings to the questions above, make sure you do a Save As from the File menu.


1h 23m

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