In this post we’ll see how a super helpful reddit community and the power of data visualization helped me solve a big problem; finding the best cars for tall people. If you want to skip straight to the dashboard, click on the button below:
After moving back to Sydney Australia with my family from Singapore, I had a problem. In Sydney, with a family, you really need a car to get everyone and everything about. But I am super tall (2.04m/6’8”) and can’t fit in a regular car comfortably.
So I wasn’t going to waste my time going to from car dealership to car dealership, only to be disappointed that my knees intersected the steering wheel of each car I tried.
So I went to the r/tall subreddit and had a look around to see if there was a solution to my problem. There were a load of posts on the topic, but they were all being asked by people who were around 1.83m/6’0” tall , so the answers didn’t help me much. I later found out the community calls these people “small talls” :)
Yes they are slightly above average in height, but they’re not what you’d call tall tall. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as they’ll avoid a tonne of head injuries throughout their life.
So I decided to make my own post on the reddit asking for help to find cars that fit “tall talls”. I even made a diagram explaining the issue I was facing just to more clearly communicate my problem with my audience.
I went to bed and the next day my phone had exploded with responses!
It wasn’t as bad as the time when another of my posts made it to the front page of reddit with how I proposed to my wife, but it looks like this was definitely a popular topic. There were hundreds of helpful recommendations and comments on this post to help me.
Now I could have just read through them and stopped there, but the data visualizer in me wouldn’t let me…
The Data Viz
There was a tonne of data in this post, but it wasn’t easy to explore and help me find insights. Plus the community had been so helpful to me that I wanted to give something back to them. So I created a dashboard to help others easily explore this data and find insights tailored to them.
I first set about capturing and structuring the data by putting it into a spreadsheet. Thankfully there weren’t too many dimensions, but there were enough to help people analyze the data and get useful insights i.e. Brand and Model of car, height of suggestor, extra qualitative notes.
Now that I had “machine readable” data, I put it into Google Data Studio. Data Studio is a great browser based tool for simple data visualization and dashboard creation, which worked well with my simple data set. I then created this dashboard and shared it with the subreddit to help people find the best cars for tall people:
Best cars for tall people
By default the main table shows all of the car recommendations and some important details; like who the shortest person who recommended the car was, make and model of the car and extra comments if there were any. Then at the top you have a few filters, so a user can drill into the data and insights that are useful for them.
In my example I only want car recommendations from people who are 6’8” and above (no “small talls”, just “tall talls”). I found that a Volkswagen Tiguan would fit me, so I went down to my local Volkswagen dealership and tested it out. Sure, it’s not the cheapest car in the world, but for the first time in my entire life, I could finally fit behind the steering wheel without contorting myself!
I’m super happy with this car and for anyone else who has a Volkswagen Tiguan, here’s a handy life hack for closing the car boot without your hands:
A good data viz should take your audience from being an insights zero into an insights hero in seconds, and I think this dashboard does that, allowing users to easily explore the data and find the insights they care about. Explore the dashboard for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below?
Are you a tall person or do you know a tall person who needs to find a car that can fit them? Then why not share this dashboard with them?
P.S. Yes, I am aware of the “This was the largest auto I could afford” scene from the Simpsons, and yes I can relate super hard with it.