MakeoverMonday: Sort by measure

There was a time earlier this year when I had a 100% record on MakeoverMonday completion. However these days I’m late by 3 entries and I haven’t had the time to catch up. Work has taken most of it away, but all is not lost as I have material for a few new blog posts. Keep your eyes open, for a post on the uses of Web Edit in Tableau and also how to build your brand, which comes on the back of a presentation I did at work.

Miraculously today I managed to get a bit of time to look at this week MakeoverMonday which looks at survey data on how satisfied are the European residents when it comes to the transport system in their cities.

Not surprisingly not many cities in Europe have the majority of its citizens say they are very satisfied with the transport system. For my friends from the other side of pond, that may surprise you. Europe has an abundance of bus routes and trains, but for instance in a city like London. Trains are often expensive, overcrowded and late. To add to it the last couple of years have seen an increase in transport strikes which makes commuting a nightmare.

But I digress, this post is to show you how you can sort your view by a measure, however I must show you the original article first.

This week’s entry was by the FT, which in my opinion have one of the best data visualisation teams in the UK. I’m always a fan of their colour choices but in this case I don’t think they work as well as it goes from dark to dark and the colours are a bit saturated, but that’s my personal preference anyway. In addition and I appreciate the focus on a small number of cities, it leaves me curious about other cities in Europe.


For my take, straight away I decided I wanted to show all cities if I could, and look at the most recent survey (May-Jun 15). I also wanted to allow the viewer to sort it by their preferred answer, otherwise it would be difficult to identify the city where its residents are not satisfied at all.

I also wanted to show a quick way to identify where the majority (>=50 people per 100), of the residents answered that question, for that I used a reference line with a shaded area. Hopefully this makes it easier to compare by eye; even though I’d added some interaction at the top I also wanted to follow some advice from an article the FT recently wrote see here.

Here’s my take, please interact with the viz below. (can’t believe I finally get to write that :D)

How to sort by measure?

Start by creating a parameter to allow the user to select each measure. You may find odd that I set my values as 1,2,3,4,5. The reason for that is that until Tableau adds proofreading on Parameters I’m bound to make a typo and I don’t want to spend hours looking for it when trying to create a dashboard. This way it’s also easier if you want to edit your “display as” value.


After the parameter we need a calculated field like the one below which will allow us to sort by the selected parameter value.


The last step is to sort the cities by the newly created calculated field.


That’s it, you can now sort by the measure selected on the parameter. Hope you found it useful.

I’m pretty pleased with it the overall look of the visualisation, but there’s a fundamental flaw. I overlooked to clarify what time period is being showed above. I could easily change that and add it, but as I’ve mentioned before I tend to leave things like that in, to remind me not to make the same mistake again next time.

Overall the data didn’t surprise me that much, south Europe citizens are often less satisfied with their transport systems, under funding and strikes will make up a large chunk of this in-satisfaction. However  I was surprised to see most Londoners are content with the transport system. Not only it is expensive but trains in general are slow and unreliable. The tube is probably one of the most reliable services, but the introduction of nightly services has seen a number of strikes in the summer of 2015 which are not accounted for in this survey and would be interesting to see its impact.

As always if you have yet to join in MakeoverMonday please do, there’s also a shinny new website with all the data available to download from previous weeks. If you are enjoying MakeoverMonday and have yet to vote for the “Information is Beautiful awards 2016” please do so here. VOTE

Thank you for reading