The Importance of Feedback and Iteration

I had an awesome experience Sunday night in to Monday morning. When I saw the data for Makeover Monday I immediately saw it as a chance to learn something new. I’m constantly in awe of Rody, Adam and Ken for the things they do with curves inside Tableau, and for this set of data I wanted to do an arc chart to show the “distance” of the company’s profit per second.

So I started reading… and experimenting… and reading… and giving up… then coming back… the reading some more. It was a long, frustrating Sunday night. I eventually made a break through just after midnight, and I was fried. So I published it to Tableau Public and threw it up on Twitter because I needed some feedback.

My community does not disappoint.

Iterating through the Arc Chart

A few tweets later, and tossing ideas and version back and forth and ended up with the final viz that can be seen here.

The series of events reminded me about the importance of getting feedback and iterating on that feedback.

Whether working for another on a request or requirement or working on a personal project it’s important to get some other input. Asking questions of your reviewer like:

Does this make sense to you?

Do you understand the message?

Am I sending the right message?

Is there a better way to present this that would be more clear? (a peer / coworker, specifically)

Each question you receive and answer to could potentially change our output.

For example, the first version I publish had the arc height showing the rank on the fortune 500, but with the lower the rank, the higher the arc. It felt counter intuitive when I did it… but I was fried when I posted it….

When I woke in the morning and saw two responses, asking the same question; ‘Why not have the highest rank, be the highest arcs?” I made the quick change and published again… but it wasn’t super clear. Then I removed the Fortune 500 ranking all together in a “does this piece of data really matter?” moment. In the end, I think it adds color, but it’s not essential. I added it back and starting playing with the padding at another reviewers suggestion. Bingo! Once that felt super solid, I made one last major shift and inverted the colors of the background from white to black, making the colors really pop!

The cycles of iteration were really short, but really impactful.



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