12 December 2014

The free tool for creating interactive data visualisations

Source: Tableau Public website.
Online versions of content in print publications typically have the advantage of interactivity - most commonly, links which can be clicked and which lead elsewhere. What if more of today's graphics feature the same kind of interactivity, packing more data into the same space like interactive infographics do?

Tableau Software, a company all about "making databases and spreadsheets understandable to ordinary people", has given us the capability to create interactive infographics with Tableau Public, a free tool whose visualisations can be embedded into web pages. Tableau Public is not new - videos showing how it works are available on YouTube from as far back as 2010 - but it is likely to become more popular now that infographics have become more common. 

A blog post by Tableau Software dated 8 December shows that it is still relevant, as does the fact that JY Pook, VP, Asia Pacific, Tableau Software, was demonstrating the product at a recent Christmas party in Singapore. Ellie Fields, VP of Product Marketing, says in the blog post that "I also want to take this chance assure you that Tableau Public will remain free. We do offer a paid premium version of Tableau Public for those who want a few extra features. But what really keeps our lights on is Tableau’s business products like Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server and Tableau Online." 

Creating an interactive data visualisation and creating a successful interactive infographic are two completely different things, however. The choice of what data to visualise, how the end-product is displayed, and even the choice of colours can be crucial to how attractive an infographic is. Would-be infographic makers should study successful infographics as well as browse the Tableau Public microsite's gallery before they start. The good news is that creating visualisations should be a snap thereafter.

Download Tableau Public here and read the blog post about successful infographics here.