In this series, Liz Jensen tackles specific cases from the Alteryx Weekly Challenge initiative. She wades through the countless tools and options available in Alteryx and shares her problem-solving process along the way.
While attending my first Alteryx training with InterWorks’ own Steph Kennedy, she said something that still sticks in my brain each time I use Alteryx: there is no prize for the prettiest or shortest workflow. As I was first getting started with Alteryx, I would struggle with trying to pick the right tool, and with dozens and dozens of tools available for reshaping, exploring and cleaning, Alteryx can seem somewhat daunting. However, once you realize that there is almost always more than one way to solve a problem, you can use any combination of tools to achieve the simplest and most complex data issues.
Tackling the Alteryx Weekly Challenge
I decided to give myself a goal for the rest of 2019—each month, I would attempt an Alteryx weekly challenge to not only stretch my Alteryx skills, but also (and more importantly) to demonstrate to my students the myriad ways they can accomplish tricky problems with the help of Alteryx’s numerous tools!
As a former retail employee, Weekly Challenge #164 spoke to me: “Determine the items of clothing that have the highest average rating. In your analysis, include 1) only items of clothing that have at least 10 positive feedback reviews and 2) the five highest rated clothing items from each class.”
Basically, what I needed to do was:
- Connect to the data
- Figure out what people liked best
- Make sure these items had been reviewed positively at least 10 times (no flash-in-the-pan items!)
- Get the top five in each class
An Alteryx Tool at Every Step
What helps me the most with Alteryx is breaking out each part of the problem into a separate tool:
- Connect to the data: An input tool (only three things in life are certain—death, taxes and some type of input tool in Alteryx!)
- Figure out what people liked best: A sort based on average ranking
- Make sure these items had been reviewed positively at least 10 times (no flash-in-the-pan items!): A filter to keep only those items
- Get the top five in each class: A sample to limit my output to just five items
What follows is a straightforward workflow. I had to add in a Select tool to ensure that my fields were in the correct format; for example, changing my ratings and Positive Feedback Count from strings to float, so I could do some aggregation and filtering:
I added a Filter for my next tool, looking only for rows where my Positive Feedback Count was greater or equal to 10, followed by a Summarize tool. I aggregated my average rating by Class Name and Clothing ID, so I could determine the highest ranked individual Clothing IDs in each Class. Then, I sorted within each Class by the Average Rating with a Sort tool. Finally, I finished it all up with a Sample tool, so I would just see the top five in each class.
Stay tuned for more Weekly Challenge walkthroughs as I explore even more tools from Alteryx!