The Alphabet Project

Q is for Questions


If you’ve been following my #AlphabetProject blog posts, you will probably have come to the realisation by now that I am a nostalgic soul. And this post is no different.

Dad took me to my first football match when I was five years old. We arrived early and headed straight for the turnstiles. The stewards saw us coming and opened up the wider gate so I could go in holding my dad’s hand. I can still remember being amazed at how big the ground was (for reference, it was Spotland stadium in the 1990’s with a capacity of around 8,000…it wouldn’t look quite as impressive through an adult’s eyes, but I was 5). I can’t remember much about the actual match – I was more interested in meeting the mascot – but I do recall being scooped up after the final whistle and heading home to check the final scores and new league positions on teletext.

For those of you that aren’t from the UK or are too young to remember, teletext was like the internet on your television…kind of. It was made up of text based pages that could be accessed through the remote and was often used to check the news and sport in our house.

It was around this time that Channel 4 launched a new quiz game through teletext, called Bamboozle! The concept was simple, new questions would be uploaded each week and viewers would answer them using the four coloured buttons on their remote. If you answered correctly, you’d move onto the next question, but get it wrong and you’d be faced with a screen telling you “You’ve been Bamboozled!” and would have to start the quiz again. It quickly became a family favourite with each member of the family having a go. Naturally we went in age order, so Dad was first. By the time it got around to my go, it was really a test of memory.

Bamboozle on Teletext
The welcome page for Bamboozle! featured Bamber Boozler introducing the week’s questions.

Fast forward to 2020 and we’ve spent a LOT of our lockdown writing or answering quizzes with friends on Zoom, Teams or Facetime. This led to me reminiscing with my sister of the hours we would spend answering Bamboozle! quizzes and in turn, to my inspiration for my Q is for Questions viz.

The Viz

The Bamboozle! host, Bamber Boozler, was a nod to the original host of University Challenge, Bamber Gascoigne. In my version of the game, I decided to put myself in the host’s shoes…hence the newly named Sanboozle!

I did originally start building the game with general knowledge questions until I had a brainwave…what about building a revision aid for the Tableau certifications?! I remember going through the exam prep guide so many times before I took my Desktop Certified Associate exam and then again before the Desktop Certified Professional exam so I based my questions around the practice exams and suggested reading for the DCA and Desktop Specialist exams.

I’m not going to lie, the viz is actually very straight forward. It consists of images that are laid out as floating objects and navigation buttons that take the user on to the next question, or on to the “Bad Luck! You’ve been Sanboozled!” screen.

Navigation buttons have become a firm favourite of mine and I love using images to create buttons for users to interact with and I tend to create my images in powerpoint. This was no exception. In the original Bamboozle!, viewers would submit their answers using the four coloured buttons their remote, so I created navigation buttons that contained the answers and took the user through the quiz.

Bamber Boozler was created to work in the teletext environment, so was made up of coloured blocks. I instantly knew that I could build my own version in tableau by plotting out coloured squares and labelling their column and row values. By adding in a third column to contain the colour, I could make a data source in excel that could be used in Tableau.

The Sanboozle image was created by plotting square marks and colouring them.

Once I’d done this, I used Luke Stanke‘s blog post to automatically deselect marks on the image and it was done!

What’s Next?

It’s my choice again for next week’s theme and I’ve decided on

R is for Rocket

I can’t wait to see what Adam creates next week so I’ll be keeping an eye on his Tableau Public profile and his blog.


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