The Alphabet Project

H is for Horses


I’ve placed a 50p bet on the Grand National every year since I can remember. When I was little, Dad would hand the paper round for us all to pick a horse and would put his 50p in with mine, my sister’s and my mum’s to form “the pot”. The winner of the pot was whoever finished first out of our four horses (or who ran the furthest in the event of four fallers). Mum would always pick based on the name and my sister and Dad would study past form. I always went with the fanciest silks. And I have to admit, I still do!

The truth of the matter is, I know very little about horse racing and up until I started collecting the data for this viz, the only horse I could name was Red Rum. This week, I won a virtual pub quiz by being able to name the 2019 winner!

The Viz

This week was the first time I’d actually sketched out my viz before starting, and it definitely helped me when it came to putting it all together. The viz itself has around 50 sheets (I know, I can HEAR the critics shouting “but what about performance!?!”) so it is a bit laggy, but I love this viz.

I love a waffle chart, but I’d never been able to work out how to make it update with a dashboard action. I knew it must be possible, so I headed to Google and found this post by Steph Kearns. Her brilliant blog post talks through creating a new waffle template that was appended with the original data to form something that can be blended with a relationship to the original data source.

The next thing I wanted to do was create a nice way to “turn pages” to show charts/stats that would answer different questions. I could have done this with multiple dashboards and buttons to take a user to the relevant dashboard, but I wanted to set myself a challenge of just using one dashboard…this called for


My last viz included Set Actions that used dimensions within the data to filter down the board games, but parameter actions allow a filter to be created without the dimension needing to be present in the data source. Using parameter actions, I was able to create clickable silks for the horses along the top of the viz and add filters to each and every sheet so they appeared or disappeared when a silk selection was made.

What’s next?

It’s Adam’s choice for the next topic, so make sure you check his blog to see what’s next!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s