My test drive of Tableau Public: a free data visualization tool

In my search for a data visualization solution that is manageable for journalism students, I took a test drive of a data visualization tool called Tableau Public; this tool was released in 2010 and has been gaining popularity in the digital journalism field for interactive data visualization.

Below is the visualization of median household income by county in New Jersey. With Tableau, I created three different visualizations of the same data set: a bar chart, a symbol map and a filled map. The three visualizations can be viewed individually, and can be viewed in one composite view.

It took me about two hours to create my first Tableau visualization – created an account, downloaded and installed the program, got to know the program, watched about 10 short instructional videos, then actually worked on the project.

About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (, a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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