Getting into data viz with Tableau with Christina
Data visualization is a blend of science and art. We discussed how Tableau can serve as springboard for delving into data viz. Christina is a data hobbyist who makes compelling data viz with Canadian Premier League data.
When did your love for football start?
Like many people, in my younger days! A very long story related to a very distant indirect connection to Phil Thompson alongside Saturday morning football on Canadian television many years ago!
Interesting. What skills have led you to this point of feeling comfortable with football data?
I was introduced to the idea that an excel spreadsheet could be something pretty fascinating if you wanted it to be during my undergraduate degree. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
My background is mostly in psychology - particularly in clinical psychology with a focus more so in clinical psychological assessment. I learned to appreciate and use data through psychological research but also in the more applied sectors.
Unsurprisingly, fields of psychology really value data and empirical approaches to solving problems. From that lens I got the opportunity to appreciate data, measurement, psychological assessment.
Obviously, evidence-based approaches with the use of high quality data derived from high quality measures is kinda what clinical psychological work is all about. IMO
I see so many the parallels with clinical psychology and data driven approaches to football where data can support, guide and connect informed minds who have various important level of football expertise (Coaches, Managers, Analysts etc....)
It’s not one or the other, both can co-exist in very effective ways. It would seem so anyways, based on recent success stories in football clubs that have an important emphasis on data informed decisions. ...data can be so interesting but it doesn’t and should not replace people and expert judgment. These principles are so important in the clinical psychology where evidence-based approaches are so crucial & exist alongside clinical decision makers to find solutions to real challenges.
Do you feel your training in clinical psychology aids your assessment of what is (ab)normal when you make visualizations?
That's a really interesting question! I've never really thought about too much. Understanding how to interpret data and graphs is definitely something I gained in clinical psychology and I see it as useful in helping form what might be visually possible to produce.
But data viz is so new to me that only time will tell if any past clinical psychology stuff I know will be helpful with this new football data-viz hobby!
What's your favourite thing about football data viz?
I might not have a sole favorite thing so far but a few things come to mind. First thing being that data viz allows me to combine my love for football with my ease of being consumed in a spreadsheet/dataset.
But what became really important and interesting to me was the value of conveying complex ideas in accessible ways to different audiences - efficiently. Data viz helps me do that.
Can you give us a glimpse into this data viz creation process?
Your viz are really good. Not easy fitting different elements together to make meaning. How did you pick up Tableau?
You are very kind. Thank you.
I found the football data Twitter community quite open, positive and full of fascinating ways to view football. In recent years, visualizing football data in meaningful and interesting ways became increasingly prevalent on my timeline.
I thought it was so visually pleasing to see all the neat ways to represent football metrics. That sparked my interest in getting stuck into some new hobbies.
While I’m still learning to build on my novice coding skills in R (thanks to @AttackingCB’s great course), I thought learning Tableau might bridge the gap between wanting to make things look nice and representing football data while my coding skills remain a work in progress!
Making the choice to learn Tableau coincided with the start of the 2020 Canadian Premier League (#CanPL) #IslandGames season, so I thought I would assign myself some homework given the accessible data that @canpldata was offering.
As a football supporter, Canadian & a bit of a data nerd I thought it would be a good opportunity to get better at data viz! Tableau has a relatively intuitive interface which made the transition from not much data viz experience to producing something I’d like to share possible.
Your data viz are compelling not only because they're beautiful but they answer questions. How do you decide what questions to answer?
Thank you for your kind words.
Deciding what questions to answer at this time depends on a few things. Which dataset I may have access to. Do I think I can learn a way to represent it in Tableau but mostly by watching football. Watching football produces questions for me.
Another aspect of your viz is the design theme. What process led to some of the visual consistency on your work?
I’ve been inspired and motivated by so many countless interesting twitter-football-data-viz people/accounts. Studying the principles and ideas of Edward Tufte remain important to me. As well as countless hours of watching Tableau YouTube content!
I’ve got a long way to go and so much to learn in football data and data viz. But practice seems quite important. Tableau offers me the practice that suits my current learning needs. The trial, error and practice helps me get better aesthetically. IMO
The Canadian Premier League aided this journey in its own way through open data.
What viz surprised you the most?
TBH I'm not sure there is a viz that was surprising to me specifically. It's really important to do things you like because you like them and not because others may like it too. And so learning data-viz through Tableau via the CanPL data was a way to practice and share.
I'm really more flattered and surprised by the general interest and feedback than one specific viz!
Sound advice. We'd like to know your all-time 5-a-side.
Ouff! Caught off guard. I'll be very unbiased and super unbalanced.