Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to the first feature of 2023.
In this edition, I interview brand new Tableau Visionary, Tableau Public Ambassador, 4x VOTD recipient and the Data Superstar herself, Irene Diomi. Irene joins me to chat about her first time presenting at the Tableau Conference, her beautifully whimsical ‘Women in Space’ viz and how she balances creativity with function in her business dashboards.
Kimly: Irene, thank you so much for being part of she will viz. I’m so excited to learn more about you. Firstly, a question that I ask everyone, what did your path into data visualisation look like?
Irene: My curiosity and interest in a variety of topics led me to pursue an education in both science and law, as well as a master’s in management.
Although my previous job experience was in a non-data field as a fraud specialist, it taught me valuable skills in having a user-centric approach, which I now apply to data analysis and visualization.
During my master’s program, I discovered my love for business analysis and consulting, and that’s when I knew that data science was the perfect field for me.
My diverse experiences and education have shaped the way I work with data and how to effectively communicate it through visualization. I’m excited to continue learning and growing in this field, and I’m grateful for every step of the journey that has led me here.
Kimly: Last year you were selected as a speaker for the Tableau Conference. You spoke with Shazeera about viral vizzing. I am so disappointed I missed your session. How was your experience as a first time speaker at the conference and had you presented at a big conference like Tableau Conference before?
Irene: I am extremely grateful for the opportunity that was given to me and for the friendship I have fostered with Shazeera. I also had the pleasure of meeting more people from the community. Kimly, it was such a pleasure meeting you in person, and I was amazed by your visualization and storytelling skills.
When I joined the Information Lab, I started doing more public speaking engagements. I began by doing presentations internally and then gradually increased my audience externally. However, it was my first time speaking in front of such a large audience, so I was nervous, but I am very happy that I did it.
Kimly: What was your overall conference experience like? What was it like meeting the datafam in person? What was your most unforgettable Tableau Conference memory?
Irene: I had a great time at the conference. It was quite fun meeting the datafam and having great conversations about Tableau, data and our experiences.
I have many unforgettable memories. However, one moment that stands out is when I had the opportunity to meet and connect with the datafam from around the world.
I vividly remember the excitement and energy in the room as we shared our experiences. It was a powerful reminder of the global community that Tableau has built and the impact that data can have in bringing people together.
But what made this memory truly unforgettable was the warmth and kindness of the people I met. Even though we came from different backgrounds, we shared a commitment to using data to make a positive impact in the world.
In the end, my most unforgettable Tableau Conference memory isn’t about a specific session or presentation, but about the people I met and the connections I made. It’s a testament to the power of data to bring people together and to the incredible datafam community.
Kimly: A few of your own vizzes have gone viral – most notably ‘Your Age on Other Worlds” (which I think is a classic by the way). Did that come as a surprise to you? Was that the motivation behind the topic of your TC session?
Irene: Yes, “Your Age on Other Worlds” is a viz I created a few months after I started my professional data journey, and it was a very simple viz that got very popular. I was surprised by its popularity and was approached by Tableau to speak. I do believe it might have played a role in my motivation behind the topic of my TC session, as this visualization was published by a news outlet. Shazeera and I, we both got contacted by Tableau for a session on Viral Vizzing so I am very happy Tableau paired us up!
Kimly: Speaking of space, I noticed quite a few space related vizzes on your Tableau Public portfolio. I have to ask, do you have an obsession with space like I do?
Irene: Yes, haha it is great to know someone else shares it. It’s a topic that has always fascinated me, and I find the possibilities of what we can discover and learn from exploring the universe to be endlessly exciting. The beauty and mystery of space also appeal to me on an aesthetic level, and I love incorporating space-themed elements into my visualizations.
But it’s not just about the visual appeal – I also have a deep interest in the science and technology behind space exploration. Growing up, I watched countless documentaries about space, and I think that’s where my fascination with the topic really took hold. It’s a field that is constantly evolving and advancing, and there are always new discoveries to be made.
Kimly: And speaking of space vizzes, you recently published a viz about Women in Space. It is beautiful, whimsical and full of creativity. What was the inspiration behind this viz?
Women in Space on Tableau Public
Irene: Thank you, I am always very touched when a data visualisation expert like you says you like my vizzes, I wanted my topic to match the design of my viz.
Kimly: I love how you incorporated the animations into your viz. The animations brought the viz to a whole new level. How did you come up with the idea of including animations?
Irene: I had this idea a year ago, I wanted to have movement to my visualisations as I think it is quite interesting to bring that element with data, I am still experimenting but that’s definitely something that I want to include even more in my work in the future and try out new techniques
Kimly: And for those wondering how the animations were done, what tool did you use to create them?
Irene: I wanted to create a unique and captivating visual that truly stood out, so I took matters into my own hands and combined a variety of powerful tools. First, I utilized Undraw and Flaticon to obtain the precise images I needed. Next, I imported these images into Figma, where I could format the background exactly to my liking. Once I had achieved the desired look, I then incorporated Lottie animation, which added an extra level of dynamism and flair. Now, Figma and Lottie were great, but I needed to bring everything together in one place, and that’s where Vev comes in. Vev is a low-code platform that allowed me to seamlessly combine all of my design elements and create a functional website. Finally, I brought everything into Tableau, where I could add the finishing touches.
Kimly: I really love how you showcase each astronaut, each “first” and each mission featuring women. What was your intent behind this decision? To bring these amazing women to the forefront of your viz?
Irene: You guessed it! When showcasing the data about astronauts and missions, my intent was to bring attention to the significant achievements of women in space and to highlight their contributions to the space industry. Historically, women have been underrepresented in the space industry, and by featuring each “first” and each mission featuring women in my visualization, I aimed to bring attention to their achievements.
Kimly: You called out the fact that no woman has ever been to the moon. The absence of data is in itself a data point and a really powerful insight. What was your thought process in including this and how did that come about?
Irene: When creating the visualization, I wanted to provide a comprehensive view of the history of space exploration and the achievements of astronauts. However, as I was researching the data, I noticed that no woman has ever been to the moon, which struck me as an important and significant fact that should not be overlooked. I believe that by highlighting this absence of data, I could draw attention to the gender disparities in the space industry and encourage a conversation about how to address this imbalance.
While it can be challenging to portray the absence of data, I thought it was important to be transparent and honest about this fact. By acknowledging this absence and presenting it as a data point, I hoped to spark a conversation and inspire action towards increasing diversity and inclusion in the space industry.
Kimly: You also have many business dashboards in your Tableau Public profile, and they are all far from the standard boring business dashboards – they are a mix of design, data and art. What inspires the designs of your business dashboards?
Modern Dashboard Superstore on Tableau Public
Irene: Designing business dashboards is a creative endeavor that requires a combination of data analysis, graphic design, and storytelling. In my work, I strive to create dashboards that not only communicate the data effectively but also engage the audience and inspire action.
To create compelling and effective business dashboards, I draw inspiration from a range of sources, including art, design, and data visualization theory. I am particularly drawn to the work of artists and designers who use color, typography, and composition in creative and impactful ways.
However, it’s important to note that design decisions in business dashboards should not be based solely on aesthetics. The design should also take into consideration the intended audience, the purpose of the dashboard, and the data being presented. Effective dashboards require careful consideration of the best practices in data visualization, such as chart selection, layout, and labeling.
The inspiration for my business dashboards comes from a combination of sources, including art, design, and data visualization theory. However, I always keep in mind that the design decisions must be based on a deep understanding of the audience and the data being presented to create effective and impactful dashboards.
Business Dashboard on Tableau Public
Kimly: What is your advice for people who build business dashboards but want to create something eye-catching and more creative in design at work?
Irene: My advice for people who want to create more eye-catching and creative business dashboards is to be intentional and purposeful in their design decisions. Start by understanding the audience and the purpose of the dashboard and choose the appropriate charts, colors, and layout that will best communicate the data.
In addition, don’t be afraid to think outside the box and experiment with new and creative design techniques. However, be sure to balance creativity with clarity and make sure the design choices don’t detract from the data itself. It’s also a good idea to seek feedback from colleagues or stakeholders to ensure that the design is effective in communicating the intended message.
Ultimately, the goal of any business dashboard is to communicate information clearly and effectively, and a creative design can help to engage the audience and make the data more memorable. So my advice is to be creative, but also keep the purpose of the dashboard in mind and make design decisions that best serve that purpose.
Kimly: And lastly to finish off, I’d like to know, who are some inspiring women that you follow or look up to in the data viz community?
Irene: While my mom may not be part of the data viz community, she has been my biggest inspiration and role model. She is an incredibly strong and intelligent woman who created her own business while being an excellent mother.
There are tons of women I admire and I wouldn’t want to forget anyone. The community has a ton of talented and hard-working women that have helped me throughout my journey. One inspiring leader, I know is Sarah Bartlett, as I believe she embodies the value of the datafam community, she empowers a lot of the newcomers and that’s something we should all strive to do.
I just love Irene’s creativity and the sweet call out to her mum! I am a big fan of Irene’s work and was lucky enough to meet her at last year’s Tableau Conference. She is passionate and certainly someone to watch and follow in the dataviz space. Check out her Tableau Public profile here and be sure to follow her on Twitter.