Monthly Makeover Challenge: August to September

For our next challenge we will be exploring Influenza data from 2018/Week 25 of the Makeover Monday Challenge. Original visualization from the CDC shown above. Consider what does and does not work well with the original visual, and how you might improve the visual. The goal of the challenge is to renovate the visual. This could mean improving the visual, or revealing a different story. Participants may use Tableau or any other data visualization tool (Excel, SAS, R..) to create their visual. Below is a link to the data set and original visual (the data set is located in the upper left hand corner of the page). Note you will have to create a free account with to access the data.

Makeovers will be discussed at the monthly TUG meeting.

The challenge winner, selected by random drawing, will be announced at the monthly TUG meeting. The winner can choose any book from Amazon about data or visualization up to $100!

Submit your entry by responding to this discussion. Please limit one submission per person. You may update your submission at any point up until the deadline. If you have questions while creating your visual, post your questions here. Odds are someone else has the same question!

To ensure your visual is shared at the next TUG, your visual must be posted to this discussion by 5PM EST on September 10th.


  • srfogelsrfogel Member

    Viz attached. Decided to use grouping to take week #'s in the data set and create Months. Looking at Avg # of cases per month across available years. Months are their own rows. Added second access to plot growth. Spike in non winter 2009 was worth investigating. Turned out to be swine flu. Winter flu growth rate seems to have accelerated in 2017 and 2018. I don't like too many legends so I used some formatting of the axis labels and trend lines to match up which line goes with which access.

  • mrobertsmroberts Member

    Hi all, just an FYI. Something's wrong with the 2017-18 %UNWEIGHTED ILI and %WEIGHTED ILI columns from the spreadsheet. Most of the spreadsheet was fine, but it seems that someone (CDC or transformed and rearranged some of the columns in the 2017-18 flu season data. It seemed that %UNWEIGHTED ILI reflected the proportion of ILI patients among all visits, for all seasons except the 2017-18 season. For that final season, that proportion was provided in the %WEIGHTED ILI column. Just a heads up. I ended up creating my own column to get the unweighted percentage of ILI visits.

  • @srfogel it is interesting to see the data split out by month. I like how you colored the axis labels and trend lines so they match up. Also, the label indicating the 2009 Swine Flu on the graph is a nice standout for the viewer.

    @mroberts thank you for pointing that out! This data set is a great example as to why it is important to always check the data. There is a Help/Questions section on where this issue was mentioned. I think a few participants from the Makeover Monday Challenge were initially thrown off by this data set.

  • Hi, I didn't want to "compete" in this month's contest but I did do a little bit of stuff within Excel since I've got that available. Just in case we have some time to talk about it and would find value in the discussion, see attached.

    Original attempts to mimic the graph made by CDC

    Flu Season Severity Variability is a cleaned up version

    And Pandemic Comparison just walks through the 2009 season vs. others

  • @mroberts thank you for sharing! I like how you kept the original graph format, but focused on key points instead of the whole picture.

  • Attached is the PowerPoint from today's meeting. Congratulations to @srfogel our challenge winner! Thank you @mroberts for speaking on your visualizations!

    Please view the PowerPoint for additional makeovers found on Please provide any questions/comments below.

    If you create a visualization utilizing this data set, please comment below and share your visualization with the group!

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