I can’t believe another year has flown by!

2019 was an eventful year for me. Admittedly not as eventful as 2018 but it was full of ups and downs nonetheless! I made a list of a few key moments from memory to mention in this post but looking back through Twitter, I am reminded of so many other highlights that I had forgotten about.

At the beginning of 2019 I made a few commitments to myself;

  • To undertake more public speaking engagements,
  • To make a conscious effort to blog every month,
  • To celebrate and support others & strive to inspire more people entering the Tableau Community,
  • To take the Tableau Desktop Certified Professional exam,
  • To continue to contribute to #MakeoverMonday
  • To participate in other community projects as much as possible
  • To participate in Iron Viz Europe and the global competition

It’s worth noting that these weren’t resolutions (I don’t believe in them) but more notes to myself for things to strive towards.

In reflection I think I did well in keeping to my commitments. Without going into too much detail;

  • I spoke at more virtual and in-person events than ever before, including both Tableau Conferencs
  • I published 30 blog posts; more than double what I published in 2018,
  • I published over 30 Tableau Public vizzes,
  • I celebrated others as much as I could and hopefully I inspired some people through #IronQuest and my blog too,
  • I achieved my Tableau Desktop Certified Professional Certification my the first attempt,
  • I participated in two Iron Viz feeders, including making my first entry to the global competition. It would have been three but I judged the final feeder round instead.

Here are a few of my highlights (in no particular order).

Starting a Dear Data-Style Project with Ann Jackson

In January 2019, Ann Jackson and I set out to follow in the footsteps of Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec and began our own data postcard project. Every week we would track data about daily lives and at the end of the week, visualise it on a hand-drawn postcard which would be posted to the other person. We blogged about our experience and designs every week. You can read my blog posts here.

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Examples of some of my Dear Data postcards shared with Ann

However, after approximately 10 weeks, life got in the way and we both struggled to keep up. Make no mistake; taking on a project like this is a big committment and we both struggled to find the time to track data, visualise it and blog about it. Nevertheless, it was fun while it lasted. The project really helped me to think more creatively and to not be bound by the contraints of data visualisation software like Tableau. I also have a few found appreciation for the amazing work of Stefanie and Giorgia!

Founding Iron Quest

At the end of 2018 I published a blog post introducing a new Tableau data visualisation project; Iron Quest. I came up with the concept of Iron Quest following the 2018 Tableau Conference and I formally launched the project in January 2019. Iron Quest is a monthly data visualization project which follows a similar format to the Tableau Iron Viz feeder competitions. Participants have a calendar month to source a suitable data set and then design, build and submit a data visualization. Every submission should use a data set that somehow touches upon the chosen theme for that month and every viz should aim to showcase best practices & skill in design, storytelling & analysis.

To date, Iron Quest has received 152 entries from 98 unique participants across the globe. The project has been more sucessful than I ever could have envisioned! Since January 2019 I have run 6 rounds of Iron Quest (round 6 is still open, at the time of writing) covering 6 very different subjects; crime, business dashboards, environmental issues, sea creatures, sports and food/drink.

For each round I have collaborated with a different community member and together we have provided detailed feedback to participants over a Zoom call. This has been one of the most exciting parts of Iron Quest for me. Taking the time to explore the vizzes in depth really helps you really appreciate all the work that has gone into building them, plus I’ve had some great conversations with my co-hosts on these calls.

I have been truly overwhelmed by the support received for Iron Quest this year. I never expected the project to make such an impact and to be embrased by so many people from across the globe. Thank you to everyone who has partipated so far. We wouldn’t be here without you all! Your dedication to the project has been outstanding.

You can read more about Iron Quest here.

Iron Quest Logo

Collaborating on a Viz with Kevin Flerlage

For the #IronQuest Sea Creatures round I collaborated on a viz with Kevin Flerlage. We had planned to collaborate on a viz at some point in 2019 and we both agreed this topic would be the ideal opportunity to do so.

Together we decided on the topic of sea turtles and went our seperate ways to source any relevant data we could find. Thankfully, Kevin came across a great resource which tracked sea turtles in the wild to better understand their movements and habits. This sparked an idea to visualise the life journey of a sea turtle and highlight the dangers face by sea turtles at each stage of their lives (only 1 in every 100 sea turtles reaches maturity). We blended this theortical story with the real-life story of ‘Bean’, a green sea turtle being tracked for research purposes in Costa Rica.

The viz took a few weeks to complete and we were both proud of the result. It was a pleasure to collaborate with Kevin and I hope to complete more collaborations in 2020.

You can view our viz on Tableau Public here.

Bean the Sea Turtle

At #data19 in Las Vegas, Kevin and I came across a huge advertisement for an aquarium with a turtle that looked just like Bean so we couldn’t resist taking this picture too!

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Kevin & I with a huge sea turtle advertisement!

Assisting with #MakeoverMonday Viz Review

In March 2019, Eva Murray asked me if I would like to help out with the weekly #MMVizReview webinars. I jumped at the opportunity! #MakeoverMonday is particularly special to me so any opportunity to help out with the project would be an honour. I initially joined Eva on a few webinars but we were soon hosting them together each week.

The whole experience was incredibly rewarding. Not only did it introduce me to so many new Tableau Public authors, I also had the opportunity to see participants learn right before my eyes. Each week we would deliver feedback and week after week, regular participants would come back and produce even better vizzes than they had in the weeks/months before. This year #MakeoverMonday introduced me to exciting new participants including Kate Schaub, Michelle Frayman, Meera Umasankar, Ash Shih, Samo Drole , RSingh and many more. In the six months that I helped out, many authors went from being relative beginners to established Tableau authors.

I am thoroughly grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of #MakeoverMonday in 2019 and I’m excited to see where Eva and Charlie take it in 2020!

MoM Book

Public Speaking

In 2019 I had the opportunity to speak at more in-person and virtual events than ever before. These included the #UKHealthTUG, #LondonTUG, #NWTUG, #BerlinTUG, The Tableau Wannabe Podcast, the Datasauraus Rex podcast (x2), a presentation to the UK Tableau Pre-Sales Team and #MakeoverMonday Viz Review.

I was also fortunate to speak at both Tableau Conferences (TC) this year. At TC Europe in Berlin I delivered an updated version of the “A-Z of the Tableau Community” talk Lorna Eden and I first gave at #TC18. In Berlin I also co-hosted a spontanious “Data Viz Debate” Facebook LIVE with Andy Cotgreave and Ann Jackson (funny story!) and joined a Tableau Ambassador panel for the Berlin Tableau User Group (held at the conference) alongside Simon Beaumont and Lorna Eden. At #data19 in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to speak about #IronQuest and the journey to date. I also co-hosted the Tableau Community Tips Battle session with Brittany Fong. More on that later!

Thank you to everyone that gave me these speaking opportunities in 2019. While I’m still not a huge fan of public speaking I believe it’s something that becomes increasingly less daunting with practice. With this in mind I hope to undertake more public speaking engagements in 2020.

2019 Talks
Photos from some of the talks I delivered in 2019

Being Awarded the Tableau “Data For Good” Award

In February 2019 I was awarded the Tableau Partner “Data For Good” Award at the annual EMEA Tableau Partner Awards event in London. This came as a complete surprise to me. I didn’t even know there was such an award! With the exception of this one, all of the awards given out at this event are for organisations (i.e. “EMEA Tableau Partner of the Year”) and not for individuals. In fact, this is the only award given to an individual.

I wasn’t at the event to collect the award in person but I was fortunate to share a quick FaceTime call with Francois Ajenstat to congratulate me over the phone! This was definately one of the highlights of the year!

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Tableau shared the following transcript with me after the event:

“This year our Data for Good category is focused on the Tableau Community. The Tableau Community remains a strong differentiator for us and creating a community of data geeks is core to our mission.

This individual has been a data enthusiast for more than 10 years, and has spent the last 4 years working with Tableau. She is active member of the Tableau Community, A Tableau Social Ambassador and a Co-leader of the Tableau London User Group.
She is unbelievably data-savvy and passionate about data visualization, Hosting a blog all about the ‘data visualization world’ and helping others in their quest to compete in Iron Viz. Our community is special because of the talent and devotion of people like her.

It gives me great pleasure to present the 2018 Data for Good award to … Sarah Bartlett.”

Thank you to everyone from Tableau for the recognition. It was an incredible honour to receive this.

Achieving my Tableau Desktop Certified Professional Certification

Tableau Certified Professional Logo

I’m pleased to announce I passed the Desktop Certified Professional exam in August 2019! I promised myself I would take the exam in 2019 after putting it off for way too long. Thankfully I passed on my first attempt.

The exam was a fantastic learning experience. I blogged about my experience taking the exam and shared some tips for others considering taking it here.

Co-hosting the Community Tips Battle at Tableau Conference

A few months before TC, I was approached by Jordan Scott to see if I would be interested in co-hosting the annual Tableau Community TUG Tips Battle at TC. Of course I accepted! In 2018 I was a judge at this event and it was so much fun.

This year the event was hosted by Brittany Fong and I. We invited 8 contestants from the community to come and join us and present their very best Tableau tips to our esteemed judging panel; Kent Martin, Lorna Eden and Lindsey Poulter. This year we were keen to open the stage to people that wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to showcase their Tableau skills to a large audience back home. With that in mind, we hand-picked 8 emerging talents from around the world to participate and represent their local TUG’s. We went with a superhero theme this year so there were masks and capes a-plenty and most of the contestants presented in fancy dress!

The event was scheduled in the final slot of conference and was a nice way to wrap-up the week. The contestants were outstanding and each one presented strong Tableau tips in their initial one-minute presentation. We eventually got to our two finalists; Vince Baumel (aka “Iron Man”) and Brian Moore (aka “Superman”) who went head to head to build a visualisation in 10-minutes, Iron Viz style! It was tense but Brian stole the show with his incredible “The Avengers vs. The Justice League” viz.

It was an honour to host the Tips Battle in 2019 and it was great fun to work alongside Brittany and all of the contestants too. Thank you to all of our contestants and judges and to Jordan for making this event a success!

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The Crowd!
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The Contestants and Hosts
Judges

The Judges (Kent, Lindsay & Lorna)

Judging an Iron Viz Feeder

As #IronViz alumi, I was invited to judge the third #IronViz feeder competition this year. This year was the first year that Tableau invited members of the community to act as first-round judges for each of the feeder competitions. The theme for the third round was migration. For this round, The Associated Press provided a dataset focusing on migration the the US. However, contestants were free to supplement this dataset with additional data of their choice.

It was such a honour to help judge the competition this year. Iron Viz means a lot to me and I wanted to be able to do it justice. This feeder was popular and received a total of 84 entries! Each judge was required to review approximately 35 vizzes each; no easy task! So many of the entries were incredible and told captivating, emotional stories of migrants arriving in the US. After sharing our scores with the other judges, the 10 highest-scoring vizzes were shared with a panel of external judges for review. It’s worth noting that it’s impossible to predict how things will go from this point on. While we had selected 10 vizzes, they were all very strong entries and there was no way of knowing how the second-round judges would score them. I was happy to see Hesham Eissa win this round with his “Global Journey of Refugees” viz. This viz in particular stood out from the other entries by telling an emotional story with a slick design and detailed analyis. I would go as far as saying this was my favourite viz of 2019!

Being featured in the Tableau Public Viz Gallery at #Data19

I was honoured to have a viz of mine featured in the Tableau Pubic Viz Gallery at TC. Tableau Public chose to feature a viz which I had published earlier in the year on the disappearing rhino population in South Africa (as part of #MakeoverMonday).

You can view the viz on Tableau Public here.

The Viz Gallery was bigger than ever in 2019 and I was proud to see multiple #IronQuest vizzes featured!

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Tableau Public Viz Gallery
My Viz Gallery Viz
My Rhino Viz

Co-Leading #LondonTUG

2019 was my third full year as a co-leader of #LondonTUG. We organised a total of 9 events in 2019, including (but not limited to) a lightening talks session featuring 10 x 10-minute talks from community members, a Summer Party, a Data Viz Debate between Andy Cotgreave and Andy Kirk, a brain-exploding talk from Bethany Lyons, a super fun Christmas quiz and special visits from US visitors Corey Jones and Mark Jewett. I love the energy that our speakers and community bring to each TUG event. It’s been an honour to be a part of the London TUG leadership team for another year and I can’t wait to help organise more events in 2020.

Thank you to my fellow leaders Paul Chapman, Laura Sandford, David Pires and Pablo Gomez for being such a fantastic team to work with and for all of your support throughout the year. Also I would like to extend my thanks to all of our speakers, the Tableau Marketing Team, Caroline Yam, Jordan Scott and to all of the people who have attended TUG events in 2019. We wouldn’t have a TUG if it wasn’t for you all.

TUG Team 3

What’s next for 2020?

While 2019 was a another busy year for me, I can’t wait to do more in 2020! Next year I intend to stick to the commitments I made at the beginning of 2019 but with a focus of learning at every opportunity and giving back as much as I can to the community.

Thank you to all of the people who formed part of my year and have supported me in my journey. There are too many to mention but you know who you are and I appreciate you all. I can’t wait to see what 2020 holds.

Happy New Year. Wishing you a year full of happiness, success and prosperity.

Thanks for reading.