Designing Great Visualizations – Tableau® software

Sometimes, only rarely, does one come across something that is, as the kids would say, ‘awesome’. Being a visual sort of person, which I think most technical analysts must be, I recently came across this site and it reminded me of that beautiful book with 365 photos of views of the world by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. I’m attaching a pdf file they sent to me this month but, before you open it, let me tell you a little about its contents and the company.

Tableau screenshot

Tableau screenshot

Based in Seattle – how predictable! – it specialises in displaying and analysing data for business purposes. Not a technical analysis package at all, but covering the broader theme of how we handle data visually. Sometimes it’s good to step back from the coalface and think laterally, which I hope this paper might do for you. From ancient cave-dwellers’ maps, through to Mercator’s getting from A to B, to histograms and pie charts, to Bertin’s semiology and the power of computers.

Personally I found the most interesting section on page 10 where they analyse the different types of data; yes, Nominal, Ordinal and Quantative. You see, before you roll up your sleeves and tackle a graphic, it’s worth sitting back a moment and thinking of the data itself. Is it reliable? Recent? Representative? Clean? Bringing these ides back to the STA for example, are stock exchange volumes worth looking at today in the light of dark pools? Do we have enough historical data for some series, say volatility, or ETFs? Or the progress of all too many bond and equity funds?
Finally, why are economists so keen on graphs while poo-pooing technical analysis?


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Posted in General, Markets, STA news, Technical Analysis, Trading
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The views and opinions expressed on the STA’s blog do not necessarily represent those of the Society of Technical Analysts (the “STA”), or of any officer, director or member of the STA.

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About Nicole Elliott

Nicole Elliott

A graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Science (BSc Social Psychology) Nicole Elliott has worked in banks in the City of London for the last 30 years. Whether in sales, trading or forecasting technical analysis has always been the bedrock of her thinking. Key expertise lies within all areas of treasury: foreign exchange, money markets, fixed income and commodities.

She has also added to the body of knowledge of the industry writing the first western book on Ichimoku Cloud Charts. Strong media links and a cult following are due to her prescient calls on the markets and often entertaining format.

Nicole can be contacted at

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