Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Bar

I was excited that Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic’s Storytelling with Data current challenge is to create a basic bar chart. She says “The #SWDchallenge this month is to create a basic bar chart. Nothing fancy. No need to stack it or do anything else crazy.” I love a good bar chart and have been known to say “don’t underestimate the power of the bar” more than once.

For this challenge I used data from the 2017 Masters to show which holes had the highest percent of scores over par.

2017 Hardest Holes at the Masters2

At first, I sorted the data in descending order so the top three were together at the top of the chart. For other data sets I think this works, but, for this I liked keeping the holes ordered by the hole number.

I debated the bar color for the top 3 for a while. I wanted to use the green to tie with the Masters theme. I decided against that because people tend to associate green with good – if I were showing the 3 easiest I would have used that. I tried orange, a maroon-ish red, dark gray, and brown but I didn’t love any of those choices. I had my husband look and he suggested that I color code them in multiple shades. Instead of shutting that down immediately I changed the scheme to show him what it would look like and asked do the top 3 still stand out? When he agreed that it didn’t, I switched it back to a two color scheme and he suggested the purple and I think it pops.

Initially, I labeled the bars and tested out different alignments. I felt that the chart was too busy with the bars labeled. I needed to add the percent over par to the chart so I added it next to the hole name. To do this in Tableau add your measure to the row shelf and change it to discrete.

I don’t have any annotations on this chart and if you aren’t familiar with golf over par may not resonate with you.  I am sure some folks would suggest adding text to explain over par but I opted not to because I liked the clean look and felt that my title got the point of the chart across.

To see other entries for this challenge take a look at #swdchallenge on Twitter.

Also take time to check out Cole’s website and buy the Storytelling with Data book.

 

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