Data Visualization: Victories and Defeats

My experience with data visualization software is a complicated one. It caused my computer to crash twice, but I guess three times the charm. However, to speak, or rather write candidly I must admit that my computer, due to its age and other factors might have been at fault there. It is a complicated relationship because, in all honesty, I must admit that despite the trouble that came about, Tableau is a great tool. This is just from a novice perspective of it, as my Tableau presentation is quite simple in comparison to all that is possible with this software.

The first time you use Tableau it can be complicated.  I chose to use the excel sheet because to me it seemed the less complicated. I wanted my Tableau sheet to focus on identifying different slave codes or laws regarding slavery throughout history. I wanted to create a visual map to better understand the similarities and differences of how this evolved in the world before it reaches the Caribbean and the Americas. Using the mapping feature within Tableau I was able to better present the ideas of governing slavery through the centuries. While using this data visualization software it is possible to easily interpret several aspects of the date. Although slave codes and laws are very present throughout history, their proximity when considering their introduction in the “New World” is significant. Tableau makes this information come across very easily.


I was also able to use the Timeline JS software which was also very useful. Although I feel that it can feel a bit more like fancier PowerPoint, it can still provide a very elegant and functional interactive format for presenting diverse forms of information. I presented the same information as I did in my Tableau document. When it came to Timeline it was relatively simple because I already had all the information. While Tableau did a great job at presenting the geography of my data, Timeline presented, ironically, the Timeline better. By simply adding images that either presented the code of laws or some aspect of that culture of the time, it made the data “pop.”

Both data visualization software’s are very appealing depending on the type of data of course. For the data I used, although Timeline JS does a great job Tableau provides more, but its difficult to navigate can create problems. However, for this particular information, the Map feature of Tableau is particularly helpful. It not only presents the same data that the Timeline presents it also has certain features like that map that provide a more sensory appeal.

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