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An implementation of Stephen Few's bandlines

on Sat, 02/02/2013 - 07:32

Stephen Few published the article "Introducing Bandlines. Sparklines Enriched with Information about magnitude and distribution" in the recent Jan/Feb.Mar 2013 edition of the Visual Business Intelligence Newsletter introducing an extension of Tufte's sparklines that he has called "bandlines". 

Then on January 28, 2013, less that two weeks after his introduction of bandlines, Stephen Few published a blog post "Bandlines Area Already Commercially Available" highlighting an implementation of bandlines by the software company XL Cube into their product. This blog post called the attention of some data analysts and users of Tableau Software such as Robin Kennedy, Jim Wahl and my self who contributed to the discussion adding examples of implementation of bandlines in Tableau Software.
First Ramon Martinez shared a link to his article "Mortality in the World 1970-2010" showing a simple and partial implementation of bandlines to show the mortality trends by regions of the World in the last forty years. Then Robinn Kennedy mentioned that Tableau has been able to do bandlines for a long time using reference lines and he showed an screenshot demonstrating his statement. 
Then, Jim Wahl shared a link of an example of bandlines implementation in Tableau which called totally my attention because of his creativity and originality. This implementation used a percentile algorithm implemented and published by Richard Leeke, a Tableau Zen Master, in Tableau Community Forum.
Because of the relevance of Jim's implementation, I want to show bellow Jim's original interactive data visualization demonstrating that it is really possible to implement bandlines in Tableau.
In this data visualization, Jim compared bandlines, bandlines with sparkstrips, and sparklines. Finally he added some text values to provide context and additional information.
I think this a relevant way and methods for monitoring public health indicators, that's why I decided to show this implementation here. Now I'm working in an application of bandlines charts to an analysis of the global population health, that I hope to publish further in this blog.
If you have any interest in this subject, keep tuned following @HlthAnalyisis on Twitter or subscribing to Health Intelligence site (RSS).
As always your comments are welcome
P.S. Some readers and colleagues has advised me that the right side of the data visualization is clipped, cutting off the legend and preventing the Tableau Public download. This is because the width of the data visualization is wider than the content column width of the blog.  Please, click on Bandlines in Tableau to download it. Sorry for any inconvenience.


Mike's picture

Hi -

Maybe it's my laptop screen size, but I don't seem to be able to download this file (or see the download button) so I can see the workings behind the viz.

Is it downloadable?



martiner's picture

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comment. The width of the data visualization is wider than the content column of this web site.

This is the direct link in Tableau Public where you can download this dataviz.



Mike's picture

Thanks Ramon!

Chris Gerrard's picture


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