For week 44 I chose a dataset that wasn’t easy but contained geographical data. This was somewhat selfish as I needed to get a few ideas for our upcoming webinar with Mapbox. Seeing what people do with maps helps us create better content in the webinar.

I also thought that this dataset would give people the opportunity to try out visualisations we haven’t seen very often this year, like calendars. And, with every country being included in the dataset, there was a chance the community would personalise their vizzes and make them very interactive, engaging and user-friendly.

Yes, sometimes we just pick data because there is a ‘good’ viz to makeover. But rest assured, we also consider the learning opportunities when we select the datasets and this week I am very pleased with how it all turned out.

I was excited to see a number of new participants joining us during week 44 and equally I liked seeing many of our regulars, just like Kate (see below) try their hand at new techniques, charts and designs. Well done everyone, it’s great to have you on board and to see you learning, experimenting and having fun.


You have probably noticed that we have been a bit ‘light’ on the lessons part of these weekly recaps lately. The main reason is that life happened and we’ve both been very stretched for time. In addition, there are only so many times we need to repeat ourselves :-). Most of the lessons we have previously shared still apply every week, for example when it comes to colours, fonts, icons, images, clarity, structure, layout, simplicity, etc.

This week, however, there is one lesson I want to reiterate because it applies every time you touch data. At least in my opinion.




You probably noticed that in this dataset there were A LOT of holidays for some countries. This is because the data had all sorts of holidays that could possibly be celebrated or observed, regardless of whether or not they were an official day off or simply an acknowledgement to particular cultures, religions or customs.

That is what the “holiday type” field was for. I actually included a note to that effect on the data page in the hope people would at least read that one sentence and use the field before building their viz.

And most people did. Some, however, didn’t take it into account. No big deal in theory, but when you publish a viz and promote it to Twitter (which we totally encourage because we want to see your work), it is important to check whether the data you have used is accurately portrayed.

It’s a good idea to always do a sense check. You may not be familiar with the topic, but ask yourself ‘can this be right?’ Can it possibly be that the US have ‘233 days off’? Probably not. Last time I checked, my US friends seemed very jealous at the fact that I get 30 days off a year. 233 seem rather indulgent.

Long story short: Check your data, check your tooltips, make sure the numbers stack up. If you’re unsure, ask. Phone (or tweet) a friend, do a bit more analysis.

And here is my pro tip: If you really, despite all of your attempts, cannot get to any other number than the one you’ve got and it seems wrong in relation to the story you’re telling, then it’s time to change your story. If you think the US cannot have 233 holidays but you can’t get to a different result, then change your description to something along the lines of ‘the data suggests that there are 233 days of the year which have significance for people based on their religion or the region they live in as well as based on seasonality and tradition’ or something like that. Describe the data rather than making a claim that is wrong.


Okay, so now let’s look at some favourites for this week. It was actually hard to pick because there were a lot of great vizzes on my list 🙂




Michael Mixon

Author: Michael Mixon
Link: Tableau Public

What I like about it:

  • Beautiful and simple design with lots of white space, simple bar charts and clean, distinct colours
  • It encourages interaction as the user picks their birthdate (or another significant date)
  • Easy to understand
  • Layers of information: if I want to find out more, I can click on the bars to filter the view
Klaus Schulte

Author: Klaus Schulte
Link: Tableau Public

What I like about it:

  • Every week Klaus pulls some kind of rabbit out of the hat, I love these surprise vizzes, they always have something unique about them, they’re thoughtful and creative
  • Like the previous viz, the information is layered and I can click to reveal additional information and learn more about each Saint’s holiday
  • Interactivity is encouraged and clear instructions are available on the viz to guide the viewer
  • Great design!
Natasha Kurakina

Author: Natasha Kurakina
Link: Tableau Public

What I like about it:

  • Such a well designed viz! I love the ‘card’ layout which divides the viz up nicely, gives it symmetry and lets the viewer explore different elements and consume a lot of information without feeling overwhelmed
  • The design is engaging and conveys a lot of information about public holidays around the world, while also clearly showing the analysis that went into it
  • Great choice of colours and excellent balance of charts vs text
Pablo Gomez

Author: Pablo Gomez
Link: Tableau Public

What I like about it:

  • Beautiful design! Pablo pays great attention to detail when putting together the various elements of his vizzes, which makes them stand out
  • Great use of colour for regions to guide the viewer through the different sections in the viz
  • Using a specific angle to tell a story
  • While I’m sure that it took a bit of time to build this viz, it is surely a source of design inspiration for many
Rodrigo Calloni

Author: Rodrigo Calloni
Link: Tableau Public

What I like about it:

  • Great use of colour, BANs and imagery to support the focus of the story being on Halloween
  • Recognisable ‘Rodrigo style’ – great to see he’s creating designs that have his ‘handwriting’
  • Simple focus of the viz
  • Nice use of a map and great highlight actions