Data Visualization in 1 min, 10 mins, 1 hour

Data Visualization in 1 min, 10 mins, 1 hour

If you’ve done any analytics work in a business setting, you’ve probably encountered times when you don’t have nearly as much time to complete your analysis as what you’d like. 

I’m taking the same dataset today and analyzing it in 3 different time periods.

Starting with 1 minute, then 10 minutes, then 1 hour, I’ll see how far I can get with creating a meaningful analysis in that time. 

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This post summarizes the analysis I performed.

To see the full analysis, watch the video above. I've condensed it so you won't have 90 minutes of watching me work.

The Dataset

I’m working with a dataset from Statistics Canada that contains wholesale trade sales per month over multiple difference categories under the North American Industry Classification System. 

The dataset itself isn’t critical to this exercise.

I picked one that was publicly available for free with a good amount of historical financial information. This is a CSV datafile. 

Data Visualization in 1 Minute

Let’s get started with our first data visualization in 1 minute.

Since I only have 1 minute, I’m going for a quick and dirty visualization.

For this visualization, I’m going to stick with Excel because it should be able to handle this amount of data without much or any lag where it might take me 15-30 seconds to load into a visualization tool.

I can’t afford that when I have 60 seconds total.

Here is the data visualization I created in 1 minute. 

Watch the video to see the full workflow.

As you can see, this chart is very simple with axes that aren't formatted nicely. 

I also didn't have time to really look through the data in detail and make sure that what I was visualizing was fully accurate.

This is always a big risk when you try to analyze information in much too short a time.

Data Visualization in 10 Minutes

Now, let’s increase our time to 10 minutes.

For this visualization, I’m still using Excel.

Ten minutes is still not a lot of time and I want every moment I have to go to understanding and displaying the data.

Watch the video for a time-lapse of a 10 minute data visualization process.

Here are the data visualizations I created in 10 minutes. 

These visualizations tell us more about the data than we were able to learn in 1 minute. 

I also was able to sort out some data related issues  I had in the first chart including double counting some results.

These weren't problems with the dataset, but they created problems in my results when I didn't look at them.

Data Visualization in 1 Hour

Lastly, let’s use the same dataset and work on it for an hour.

An hour feels like a lot of time right now after how quickly I had to move the last time.

Anytime that I’m doing analysis where I have more than a few minutes to work, I like to start out with making a strategy.

I’m going to aim for about 10 minutes of time to be focused on strategy -

  • What information do I want? 
  • What types of charts?
  • What insights that I couldn’t get in 10 minutes? 

I’m using Tableau for this visualization. It will let me more quickly create complex visualizations and tell more of a story with my data.

Again, I’ve time lapsed this work and you can see the complete process in the video.

The results of this 1 hour data visualization resulted in a multi-page Tableau story that you can see in the video. 

How do the visualizations compare?

The data visualizations grew more complex and conveyed a lot more information as my time increased.

If I still had more time, there are more things I would continue to refine and explore in this dataset. 

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