2020.4 - An AMAZING New Feature that Tableau Didn't Even Tell Us About!

Yesterday I posted a viz collaboration, Pandemic.  The viz was a replication of the Pandemic Board Game.  Ken and I each bought this game for our families for the Christmas of 2019 and loved it.  We loved it so much, we decided to build it in Tableau.  In February of 2020, we did exactly that and then…the unthinkable happened.  You can read all about this viz and its background in my Pandemic Board Game blog post, which I released earlier this week.


Although we waited to share this Pandemic viz due to the sensitive nature of COVID-19, it actually was a good thing.  In 2020.4 (which just became available), Tableau released an absolutely incredible feature improvement for published visualizations.  Interestingly, they didn’t tell us about it.  It’s not in the upcoming features blog post they shared before the release, it’s not in the release notes…it’s not anywhere that I can find.  But I’m not gonna tell you about just yet; I'm going to make you hang for just a bit longer…


If you read the blog that coincided with the viz itself, you would have read that creating the hover actions to show the city and its connecting cities was actually quite tricky.  I ultimately used a combination of parameter actions and set actions to make it happen.  This is what it looked like in Desktop…we loved it!


Looks great, huh?  Then I published it to Tableau Public and gave it a test run.   Uh oh.


That did not look good.  The hover actions were slow (which I’m sure we’ve all experienced in the past).  And on top of this, that flashing was incredibly distracting.  It just didn’t make for a great experience.  And in fact, I rarely used hover actions (especially with parameter and set actions) because of this issue when a workbook has been published.  (Note that in my experience, hover actions can work quite well using filter actions and less complicated views, but it doesn’t take a lot for them to become a problem).


Because of the issues with the hover actions, we ultimately changed the layout completely.  We scrapped the dashboard actions altogether and added a drop down parameter to select a city.  To be honest…I really didn't like using a drop-down whatsoever.  As mentioned, we never posted it and we are glad we waited.


Okay, so now I can reveal the AMAZING new 2020.4 feature that Tableau didn’t even tell us about…DRAMATICALLY IMPROVED HOVER ACTIONS!  To some, this may not seem like a big deal, but as I mentioned before, the performance of hover actions at times often made them unusable.  But now, thanks to the incredible dev team at Tableau, we no longer have to worry about that and we can place hover actions back into our Tableau toolbox.  So do you want to see what the viz looks like with the new improved actions?  Check it out here:

Wow!  What a huge improvement!!!!!!!  Honestly, I cannot tell you how incredibly excited I am for this feature improvement.  It opens us up to so much!  


I encourage you to check out the Pandemic Board Game viz for yourself to see how well the hover actions work.  I cannot wait to see more hover actions on Tableau Public!


Thanks for reading.



Kevin Flerlage, December 16, 2020

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  1. Just updated to 2020.4 and re-uploaded a view to Public but still just as slow? Something im missing?


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