My First #IronQuest Submission

When the first Iron Quest theme was announced as crime, I knew immediately that I wanted to explore data associated with the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper.  I have been fascinated by this mystery for years, read several books on the subject, and my mom even threw a Jack the Ripper themed Halloween party one year.  We all dressed up as various characters from the era (victims, suspects, and other unsavory characters) and had our mug shots taken.  I dressed up as one of the victims:

It was easier than I expected to find data related to Jack the Ripper.  One google search later, I had my source:  https://datashare.is.ed.ac.uk/handle/10283/2419.  Building the data visualization, on the other hand, was not so quick and easy.

I wanted to build a map and use the pages function to show the progression of the murders.  I also wanted to have a line connecting each of the points, but for whatever reason, I could not determine a way to do this while using shapes as my markers.  So I scrapped that idea and sat, dumbfounded, for at least a week before I decided what to do with the rest of the visualization.

For my current job I built a couple of digital escape rooms using Tableau.  We use these in training to help end users familiarize themselves with the inner workings of a Tableau dashboard (the filters, parameters, tooltips, legends, captions, etc.).  However, because the data cannot be shared, I could not make those workbooks available for download, despite many requests.  So, for my first Iron Quest submission, I decided to make a digital escape room that I could share.  From that point on it was only a matter of adding some more visuals to the dashboard and coming up with a list of questions that were challenging, but not to the point where people want to quit.

The result:

jack the ripper

So, how do you build a digital escape room in Tableau?  Parameters.

  • Created as many string parameters as there are questions.
  • Use those parameters to build calculated fields.
  • If all of the answers are correct you win the game!

In this particular dashboard I built a two layer puzzle.  First you answer the questions.  Then, the correct answers give you a letter (incorrect answers give you a different letter).  You have to unscramble the letters to answer the last question and win the game.  In other versions I’ve made the player only has to answer the questions correctly.  These are only two scenarios; the options are endless!

Let’s look at an example that is NOT in the dashboard (I don’t want to ruin it for you if you want to play)!

Parameter name:  Answer_1

Parameter title:  What day of the week was Mary Kelly murdered?

Correct answer:  Friday

Calculated field:
IF (CONTAINS(UPPER([Answer_1]), “FRIDAY”)) THEN “X”
ELSE “Z”
END

You can do this using numbers as well, but with a slightly different calculation:

Parameter name:  Answer_2

Parameter title:  How old was Rose Mylett at the time of her murder?

Correct answer:  29

Calculated field:
IF (CONTAINS (STR([Answer_2]), “29”)) THEN “Y”
ELSE “W”
END

Although there are none in this dashboard, you can also make the parameters multiple choice.

parameter

Calculated field:
IF  [Who was Jack the Ripper] = “a” THEN “Q”
ELSE “U”
END

In this particular dashboard, you only have a few challenges, but it would be easy to add more.  Other ideas I’d like to work into a digital escape room are:

  • Using multiple visuals to reveal passwords and you enter those to move to the next challenge.
  • Insert the parameters into calculations to effect the results.
  • Hide clues at different coordinates that require the user to zoom in or out to discover them.

In short, you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want! Hit me up on Twitter @GinnyMoench if you decide to create a Digital Escape Room in Tableau—I would love to try my hand at the challenge!

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