#DearDuo 7 – Tracking Beverages!

#DearDuo 7 – Tracking Beverages!

Welcome to the 7th month of our Dear Duo project.  Time flies when you’re having fun. Next month, we will have reached our one year of blogging. In 2017, we will be publishing a single post each month written together rather than 2 separate ones.  The biggest reason is we want this project to be more collaborative.


The Data

This month we were heavily confused what to track for some reason, which led to wasting first week of the month and we started tracking beverage consumption data on February 7th. I work with a very dynamic team who are always beaming with new ideas and creativity. Peirce Law, who is a talented intern on my team gave me an idea to track beverages via an App called ‘Nomie’. Nomie allows for a single tap to track water, tea, coffee, alcohol or whatever you ask it to track. I found it hard to keep track of daily consumption because let’s be realistic, tapping every time you drink a cup of water seems a bit too much.

Here is how the app looks, you basically create a board with all your trackers and tap the button every time you consume that specific beverage:

Adam – Well, that is how the app looks on Pooja’s android phone. It looks much nicer on an iPhone. That being said, I hate this app. I will say Nomie is intuitive to setup, has some cool customization features, and even captures timestamps and lat/long coordinates (if you allow that). However, the problem is you never remember to tap the button. I always remembered to track my coffees after I drank the cup or later in the day. Forget about trying to remember to track beer drinking while you are drinking it! Both Pooja and I truncated this data down to just a date before sending it to each other. I guess neither of us wanted to be called out for drinking coffee at midnight when we remembered to tap the darn button! Pooja gave me 160 rows of clean data and this nice note that echoed my experience!

Pooja – I was provided with a 95-row dataset which had fields like, date, day of week, month and tracker. Adam tracked his consumption of coffee and beer, his 2 favorite beverages I assume. Needless to say, his first viz on Tableau Public also happens to be a beer viz, check it out here. Here is an image of Adam’s beer viz:

Apart from him missing tracking data on certain days as a result of our indecisiveness about what to track and his stomach flu, the data was simple and precise. He tracked his beverage consumption for 20 distinct days in February.


The Design 

Adam – I chose charts to help highlight some of the obvious gaps in the data. I decided to show Pooja’s beverage consumption by weekday broken down by Water, Coffee and Green Smoothies/Teas (which I group together). I created a running total on drinks tracked, but I included a calculation at the bottom to highlight how many she might have tracked had she remember to tap Nomie. I also created an icon chart by date to highlight some of the days she forgot to track completely. The icons were sourced from and credited to the Noun Project.

Since this is a quantified self data project, I always like to include a little of Pooja on these dashboards. I found a photo I snapped during TC16 in Austin, TX and PhotoShopped the background out.  I dropped Pooja right on top of the area chart. I used a fixed axis to give me room for an annotation and some spacing to separate the caption text to kind of float these elements around Pooja. I even sampled Pooja’s forehead to shade the text boxes I used for the line separators. Finally, I ripped off Pooja’s left, right, center title style that she uses often.

Pooja – Since the data was simple and time-based, I decided to use 2 simple line charts to show Adam’s beer and coffee intake. I used circles on dual axis so that I could label the points clearly without making the line chart look messy with all labels on. I tried using color picker to pick the color of his beer from his image but it didn’t seem to go well with the gray background I chose. So, I picked yellow for both the lines and the circles.

In the middle title band, I thought it was interesting to show Adam’s beverages intake by weekdays. I asked him to send me his beer drinking picture which I manipulated in PowerPoint by softening the edges and adjusting transparency. We use 700×700 pixels setting on our dashboards so they can be easily embedded on WordPress. Layering images over non-interactive elements of a viz helps save space.

I used faded grid lines and text boxes ‘beer’ and ‘coffee’ to indicate which line chart depicts which beverage. Because the labels and annotations are turned on for a few points, I turned off tooltips for all 3 charts because it was unnecessary to show repetitive information.


What did we learn?

Adam – I learned Pooja remembered to track about 7.6 drinks on average per day. Had we started tracking on time and she remembered to tap every day, she should have had about 213 drinks tracked. I had a theory she would forget to tap Nomie on her busier weekends and it turned out to be true.  She remembered to track significantly less on Fridays and Saturdays.  In fact, she did not track any drinks on February 24th, 25th, or 27th. I wonder what she had going on that weekend?

This project, yet again, proved we are pretty similar. We both seemed to really hate Nomie when we talked about it.  We both also made similar design choices that we didn’t see until writing this post.  We both used similar background colors, sampled images for other colors, used images of each other, and used similar techniques to analyze weekdays, etc.  Maybe it is a product of working closely, but it is pretty cool nonetheless.

Also, I learned that we need a few ideas on what we should track next.  Please help us out and leave us some ideas in the comments. 

Pooja – I learnt that he averages around 4 cups of coffee a day and 1 beer a day looking at his 20 days’ worth of tracked data. While he consumed coffee every day of the week, he didn’t consume beer on Sundays or Wednesdays. Or it could be that he did consume it but forgot to track it, possibility of this is pretty likely considering he admitted to have gaps in the data.

His maximum beer consumption was on February 28th while he was having a good time a day before the Tapestry conference last week. He had quite a good time at Tapestry, I hear. I got pictures from him of the Florida sunshine with a caption, ‘how is work’? Talk about rubbing it in.

While I do believe that was the day he consumed maximum beers, I do not believe he only consumed 6, really? Looks like a data quality issue 😂

#DearDuo has been a fun way to learn about each other via themed datasets. Thank you for following along our journey, next month should be an interesting month so be sure to follow #DearDuo on twitter and if there is anything you would like us to visualize about each other, please do not hesitate to let us know. We would love some creative ideas on topics. Thank you for reading, until next month!


Here are our vizzes:

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