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Susanne Ullrich on March 26, 2024

How do you transform a mass of data into a beautiful and meaningful dashboard? With a lot of know-how, experience, passion, attention to detail and a good dose of passion for data and visualizations. At Hopmann Marketing Analytics, we have many experts in our DataViz team who enjoy doing exactly this for our customers on a daily basis. They regularly take part in our internal data visualization challenge “Battle of Vizards”. Our colleague Alexander Schmidt won the last competition with his high-quality dashboard on the topic of video game sales. As part of our blog post series “5 questions for…”, he tells us more about the competition and reveals how to set up such a complex dashboard and overcome the typical challenges involved.

1. can you please introduce yourself briefly?

My name is Alexander Schmidt. I became aware of the topic of data visualization while working as a student trainee and found it so exciting that I have focused on it ever since. As a Junior Data Visualization Specialist at Hopmann, I create informative dashboards for various well-known customers on a daily basis. I have experience with the two most well-known data visualization tools, Microsoft Power BI and Tableau. Recently, however, I have been focusing more on Tableau due to specific customer requirements. Although the tool doesn’t seem particularly intuitive to many people at first, it offers a lot of scope for creativity and also numerous design options after the familiarization period.


2. why does the dashboard exist? Can you please tell us a bit more about the “Battle of Vizards” contest?

The “Battle of Vizards” is an internal dashboard competition at Hopmann Marketing Analytics that takes place around three times a year. Our colleague Selmir organizes the challenge and looks for suitable data sets for the analyses, which are exciting and challenging at the same time. Many thanks at this point to Selmir for the great organization! There is a new data set for each challenge. These come from a wide variety of areas, from the life cycle assessment of different countries to the best workstation locations and data on the Oktoberfest. In the last challenge, the focus was on evaluating exemplary sales data from the video games industry. As soon as the data set has been determined, every employee is invited to demonstrate their skills in data analysis and visualization as part of the competition. At the end, there will be an anonymous vote across our entire team. The dashboard with the most votes wins.

3. Which metrics and display forms are shown in your dashboard and why?

There are three visualizations in my dashboard. A Sankey diagram, a special form of flow chart, a stacked area chart and a heat map. The Sankey diagram shows how the sales of the top 5 video game categories have developed over time. Which genres, platforms and publishers dominated in the different years? Which games were particularly popular in which year? With a selection for the years and the option to “play” the visualization, I wanted to make the graphic as interactive as possible. The visualization is supplemented by the stacked area chart, which shows sales by region, and a heat map, which shows which publishers are particularly active in which genres. For example, the interactive dashboard shows that Electronic Arts was particularly well represented in the “Sports” category during the period of the sample data. A whopping 212 games were published by EA in the sports category. A remarkable record!


The first step was to prepare the data, because data quality is a decisive factor: data cleaning and data preparation. For example, I checked the units, missing information, irregularities and the plausibility of the data.

After the data check, I thought about which forms of presentation would be best suited to show the information contained in the data to its best advantage. I thought it would be interesting to show the distribution of sales across the various platforms, publishers and genres. At the same time, I didn’t want to ignore the development over time. I came across the Sankey diagram, which is well suited for this purpose. The volume of sales streams allows you to see directly which genres, for example, were particularly strong in terms of sales. The ability to select the years makes it easy to see the change from the previous year. I have supplemented the whole thing with the area chart for information on the regions. At the same time, a heat map should show the number of game titles in different colors and the amount of sales by the size of the circles.

The next step was to create the individual visualizations, which experience has shown takes the most time. Among other things, new calculations had to be created and various parameters configured.

Finally, I worked on combining the individual visualizations into a dashboard and formatting the texts and all dashboard elements. This often doesn’t take much less time than creating the visualizations themselves.

5. Were there any challenges in creating the dashboard? If so, how did you solve them?

Unfortunately, there is currently no template for Sankey charts in Tableau – but I have read that Tableau is now working on it. Since I hadn’t used this complex visualization in Tableau before, I first had to do some research and look for tips and tricks on how to best implement this in Tableau. For the sake of simplicity, I focused on the top 5 genres, top 5 platforms and top 6 publishers and their sales over time. This allowed me to make sure I didn’t overload the visualization and simplify the calculations. The chart was definitely a challenge for me, but in the end it was a lot of fun to see the finished result.


With this in mind, we would like to congratulate Alexander on winning the challenge. But we don’t want to withhold the other dashboards from you either, because the rest of our colleagues have also created very interesting data visualizations on the topic. All of these dashboards were created using Power BI.

Simply click on the graphics to access the interactive live dashboards:

P.S. Would you also like to become a Data Vizard? We would be happy to take you by the hand if you would like to learn how to use the Tableau or Power BI tools for your own data. Find out more about our practice-oriented training courses at the HMA Academy here:

-> Professional data visualization with Tableau

-> Professional data visualization with Power BI