Every now and then I like to try random things just for the heck of it and see where it may lead me. I got up this morning, read my email, and in one of my emails someone mentioned GoAnimate. Ten minutes later I had created this cartoon:
It took another ten minutes of goofing around to embed the cartoon into a test HTML page, download an MPEG4, post the cartoon to Facebook, and email the cartoon to my 13 year old daughter so she could check it out.
The most amazing thing is how well organized and intuitive the software interface used to create the cartoon was. There was a five minute tutorial that I worked through to get started, but man; this is pretty amazing if you really thing about it.
I would really encourage you to try creating your own cartoon. You can do that here. You have to provide an email address and get a login.
What does any of this have to do with XBRL? Well, a lot frankly. First off, the application is a web based application, nothing is installed locally. I think this may be an Adobe Flex application but could be wrong. It does seem to be a Flash application.
Second, templates. While I could not create any cartoon that I wanted, the cartoon I did create was easy to create because of templates. I picked a background which existed. I picked a character which existed. I could have created my own background and character; but their templates were fine. The storyboard is like the parts of a financial statement. Notice how the interface provides you with context sensitive options as to what you can do. I could go on and on.
Imagine if creating a financial statement using XBRL was this easy! It is my prediction that it will be.
Use your imagination as you look through the application. If you are really into this, check out the application Scratch. That application also helps one see what an interface could look like. Think "Legos" as you play with Scratch. Also, I talked about this in a previous blog post which goes into more detail.
Both GoAnimate and Scratch are software applications which the typical business person could easily use. Plug and play information exchange, as easy to achieve as plugging in a USB thumb drive!