Trade Ideas Blog

Your Best Trades: It’s Not What You See, But How You See It

Oct 23, 2007

The Smallest Change in Graphics Affect the Success of a Trading Plan

We introduced version 2.1 of Trade-Ideas PRO back in May. The ‘Flip’ feature receives the most attention and fanfare at the conferences and summits we attend (more on the recent User’s Summit hosted by Scottrade in an upcoming post).

How We See Affects Our Trading

And yet we slipped in a View Mode feature with three options that I really appreciated just yesterday thanks to a customer’s comment. The new View Mode lets you further shape the information we publish to fit your preferences for making good decisions. There’s no better way to judge anything we do to Trade-Ideas than that. Is there?

The latest version of the TI Pro Manual describes the feature with an economy of words – The “Group & Sort” mode is the most interesting to me:

The “View Mode” menu item is used to change current view mode of the Alert Window. Select the desirable view mode from the list and the Alert Window will be updated immediately. There are three view modes available:

  1. “Newest First” – new alerts are added to the window and window is automatically scrolled according to direction settings (for example, if direction is down, new alerts are added at the top of the window, and older alerts are moved to the bottom of the window); newest alerts are not highlighted (this is the default view)
  2. “Write Over” – new alerts are added to the window according to direction settings so that newest alerts will overwrite oldest alerts; window is not
    scrolled; newest alerts are highlighted; there is one blank row or column between newest and oldest alert
  3. “Group & Sort By” – you have to choose the sort field from the list to activate this view mode; newest alerts are also highlighted

How View Mode Helps Your Trading

Forget about looking at the alerts in chronological order for a moment.

Example 1: Symbols. Order the alerts by symbol as in the TI Pro Manual’s example and see all the alerts for a particular stock in one area clustered together to better read what the stock is doing over the course of the day. I sometimes like to see multiple bullish alerts on a stock before trading it. This can be difficult if the alerts for the stock are separated by others chronologically over a few seconds. Grouping them by symbol let’s me see the symbols as hives – where are the bees (the alerts) the busiest? I see where the activity is because the newest alerts arrive within the window in high white-on-black contrast.

Example 2: Volume. Sort the alerts by their relative volume and see only the most important volume moves in the alert window. Sometimes my minimum threshold for relative volume is too low – I prefer not to be distracted by the alerts on the smaller end of my volume threshold. Sorting by relative volume keeps the smaller moves at the bottom of the window and only the most important moves appear at the top.

You can see other applications of the View Mode as you experiment with the options.

I’ll end this with the full quote from which I get the title of this post – Professor Edward Tufte whose work on getting the most information (density) out of images (called information throughput) greatly influences are work at Trade-Ideas:

“At their best, graphics are instruments for reasoning about quantitative information. Often the most effective way to describe, explore, and summarize a set of numbers – even a very large set – is to look at pictures of those numbers. Furthermore, of all methods for analyzing and communicating statistical information, well-designed data graphics are usually the simplest and at the same time the most powerful.”

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward R. Tufte, 1983