Exploring the effectiveness of similarity-based visualisations for colour-based image retrieval


In April 2009, Google Images added a filter for narrowing search results by colour. Several other systems for searching image databases by colour were also released around this time. These colour-based image retrieval systems enable users to search image databases either by selecting colours from a graphical palette (i.e., query-by-colour), by drawing a representation of the colour layout sought (i.e., query-by-sketch), or both. It was comments left by readers of online articles describing these colour-based image retrieval systems that provided us with the inspiration for this research. We were surprised to learn that the underlying query-based technology used in colour-based image retrieval systems today remains remarkably similar to that of systems developed nearly two decades ago. Discovering this ageing retrieval approach, as well as uncovering a large user demographic requiring image search by colour, made us eager to research more effective approaches for colour-based image retrieval. In this thesis, we detail two user studies designed to compare the effectiveness of systems adopting similarity-based visualisations, query-based approaches, or a combination of both, for colour-based image retrieval. In contrast to query-based approaches, similarity-based visualisations display and arrange database images so that images with similar content are located closer together on screen than images with dissimilar content. This removes the need for queries, as users can instead visually explore the database using interactive navigation tools to retrieve images from the database. As we found existing evaluation approaches to be unreliable, we describe how we assessed and compared systems adopting similarity-based visualisations, query-based approaches, or both, meaningfully and systematically using our Mosaic Test - a user-based evaluation approach in which evaluation study participants complete an image mosaic of a predetermined target image using the colour-based image retrieval system under evaluation.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.48780/publications.aston.ac.uk.00019270
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Informatics and Digital Engineering > Computer Science
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Institution: Aston University
Uncontrolled Keywords: image databases,image retrieval,colour,visualisation,evaluation
Completed Date: 2013
Authors: Plant, William


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