The Story

Elegant Tableau dashboards Bridget Cogley dashboard design

Interpreter turned Tableau Artist: What's the Story?

I started my professional career as an American Sign Language interpreter.  I learned a lot about how we communicate, the things we intend to say versus how we really say them, and the cultural baggage that shapes what we say.  I quickly joined a start-up, where, in addition to continuing to interpret, I learned nearly every aspect of business imaginable: training, HR, management, and, perhaps most relevant here, data analysis.

You see, I started with Excel.  And I made dashboards that were automated.  Yes, they had pie charts, and 3D line charts, and tables.  Lots of tables. Of course, the whole thing polled from every pivot table imaginable.  Then, we tried a number of tools, and one stood out as the frontrunner: Tableau 6.0.

Everything Tableau tells you not to do with the tool I did.  I know from firsthand experience how painful a transition from Excel to Tableau can be.  But I also know what the other side looks like and, as a consultant today, have the wisdom and experience to help my clients avoid these painful lessons.

And dashboard design?  I take a linguistic approach for Tableau dashboards.  American Sign Language has rules about storytelling, visual set up, and grammar that is, well, visually-dependant.  It translates quite well to dashboard design. 

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