The Effect of Visual Design in Image Classification

by   Naftali Cohen, et al.

Financial companies continuously analyze the state of the markets to rethink and adjust their investment strategies. While the analysis is done on the digital form of data, decisions are often made based on graphical representations in white papers or presentation slides. In this study, we examine whether binary decisions are better to be decided based on the numeric or the visual representation of the same data. Using two data sets, a matrix of numerical data with spatial dependencies and financial data describing the state of the S&P index, we compare the results of supervised classification based on the original numerical representation and the visual transformation of the same data. We show that, for these data sets, the visual transformation results in higher predictability skill compared to the original form of the data. We suggest thinking of the visual representation of numeric data, effectively, as a combination of dimensional reduction and feature engineering techniques. In particular, if the visual layout encapsulates the full complexity of the data. In this view, thoughtful visual design can guard against overfitting, or introduce new features -- all of which benefit the learning process, and effectively lead to better recognition of meaningful patterns.


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