What is the Tableau Community Project—Back to Viz Basics?
If you’re looking for a fun way to connect with data enthusiasts while also reinforcing foundational data visualization skills, Back to Viz Basics (B2VB)—a Tableau Community Project—is the perfect place to start. Tableau Community Projects are created and led by members of the DataFam community. Participants learn, practice, and apply their data skills across a variety of topics, products, and causes. Back to Viz Basics focuses on one simple chart or visualization principle at a time.
How did Back to Viz Basics get started?
🚨 DID YOU HEAR?🚨 I’ll be taking over https://t.co/CdGKNnQNMH from @vizzingbrocks! Be sure to check out this awesome collection of starter resources. I’ll be expanding on the current blog and interviews as well as kicking off a NEW COMMUNITY PROJECT! (1/3)
— Eric Balash (@ReadySetData) November 4, 2021
When former Student Ambassador Maria Brock asked Tableau Public Ambassador Eric Balash to take over The Tableau Student Guide site, he felt it was the perfect time to start something new in the community. In addition to the Tableau Student Guide resources and tutorials for data newbies, Eric saw a need for a project specifically focused on getting started with Tableau. Inspired to help enhance the visualization skills of people who may have just scratched the surface of what Tableau can do, he reached out to some Tableau Community friends to think through ideas. The outcome—Back to Viz Basics.
Back to Viz Basics leaders Eric Balash and Elisa Davis.
Currently, Eric Balash and Tableau Public Featured Author Elisa Davis co-lead B2VB. This includes creating the prompts, sourcing the data sets, reviewing the submissions, and sharing feedback.
Who can participate in Back to Viz Basics?
Whether you’re a new or seasoned Tableau user, Back to Viz Basics is open to all data enthusiasts. It is designed for you to practice data visualization basics and help you form or build on that foundation.
How do I participate in Back to Viz Basics, and what Tableau skills will I learn?
Back to Viz Basics releases a new data set or prompt every two weeks on Sundays. Participants have one week to develop and submit their visualizations. Check their site for step-by-step instructions.
While other Tableau Community Projects focus on specific topics like music, games, and education, Back to Viz Basics focuses on learning Tableau. Eric says, “this community project helps us to focus on one chart type and how we can build or format a chart type in different ways. Doing this isn’t just for newbies. Many of us who have been using Tableau for a long time can totally benefit from returning to the basic foundations.” Since the project started, Eric and Elisa have created challenges that establish and reinforce basic visualization skills—some of the topics include: Build Your Best Bar Chart, Design Some KPIs, Vizzing Diverging Values, and Use Annotations Effectively.
Foundational data visualization skills are important to learn because they're cross-functional—they can be used in any role in any industry, both personally and professionally.
Eric shares, “foundational data visualization skills are important to learn because they're cross-functional—they can be used in any role in any industry, both personally and professionally." The impact of going back to basics and diving into foundational skills has been felt by many DataFam members. Tableau Public user Manju Panjwani is currently taking some time off for professional development, and working on upskilling herself by learning business and data analytics skills—one of the ways she’s doing this is by regularly participating in B2VB challenges. “Back to Viz Basics has been an inspiring learning opportunity for me as a reentrant into the workforce. The challenges not only have an objective/goal to strive for but also are fun. I truly value the support, feedback, and suggestions from the data visualization community as it has helped me immensely in improving my visualization techniques.”
Manju Panjwani’s B2VB visualization on Tableau Public on Designing KPIs.
Along with the foundational skills learned during each challenge, the social component is invaluable. After completing the prompt, participants are encouraged to share their visualizations on Tableau Public and Twitter using the #B2VB hashtag. Elisa shares, “there are many people whose first tweets or posts about their work is publishing a B2VB viz, which is really inspiring both for veteran vizzers and for people who haven't quite psyched themselves up to take that step yet.” The #B2VB hashtag is filled with community members sharing Tableau Public visualization screenshots coupled with “feedback welcome.” In the comments of these Tweets, data enthusiasts of different backgrounds and expertise make recommendations, point out interesting approaches, and congratulate the author on their work. The support system of the DataFam is truly unmatched.
Along with the #B2VB Twitter hashtag, the B2VB Submission Tracker on Tableau Public is also a great resource to see all the challenge entries and explore the different approaches to the prompt.
Back 2 Viz Basics Submission Tracker on Tableau Public by Eric Balash
Collage of all the B2VB Pride vizzes. Image taken from Elisa Davis’ Twitter.
What are the other Tableau Community Projects?
Tableau Community Projects are a great way to connect with like-minded data people while improving your data skills. Click here to see the complete list of projects that span topics, products, and causes.