Dynamic Small Multiples in Tableau by Chris DeMartini

Dynamic Small Multiples in Tableau by Chris DeMartini

There have been a number of small multiple designs (see the list at the bottom of this post) in the past year or so and I am always a big fan of them, I figured why not take a chance at building one myself. If you have read any of my previous blogs, you may have noticed that I like the word “dynamic”, so I tried to figure out a way to incorporate a dynamic aspect into this visualization based on player data from the last six NBA seasons.

Dynamic?
One of the tricks with small multiple design is the fact that you have to lay out the graphs in a trellis panel (aka a grid). This can be accomplished by hard coding and sorting the partitioning dimension of your analysis, however, I challenged myself to calculate the location for each graph within Tableau on the fly. The reason why I wanted to do this was to be able to update, change between seasons, etc. without having to do any additional work on the trellis layout of the small multiple viz.

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Live Polar Clock in Tableau by Chris DeMartini

Live Polar Clock in Tableau by Chris DeMartini

After taking a look at the polar clock examples in both D3 and protovis and having studied Bora Beran's great radial treemap & bar chart post it seemed very possible to do this in Tableau with just a little incremental effort. I started from Bora's workbook and went from there.

For the polar clock each radial bar needs to be based on a different unit of time. See the below graphic for how I went about laying out the radial bars and units of time for this viz (mimicking the D3 and protovis versions).

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