Rendering financial data on mobile devices is difficult due to the small screen size and the dimensional nature of the financial data. Rendering XBRL data from public companies has a few additional challenges.

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1. The concept name is long and it has no space between words. Without space, the rendering engine is not able to break the concept name into more than one lines.

Example: AvailableForSaleSecuritiesAndHeldToMaturitySecurities

2. The label isn’t always accurate and isn’t sufficient without the concept name.

Example: The label for the concept “IntangibleAssetsNetExcludingGoodwill” could just be “Total”, which only makes sense when the concept name is also displayed.

You might think the concept name is more accurate than the label. This is not true.

Example:

Concept: us-gaap:CommercialPaper

Label: Commercial paper (includes $0 and $6,045 for VIEs) (a)

So it is the best to display both the concept name and the label.

3. Rendering dimensions or hypercubes (similar to the pivot table in Excel) is the ultimate challenge.

a). Each dimension has its own combination of the concept names and labels, both could be too long for the small screen.

b). The hierarchy (or the drill down) is hard to render with the small screen.

c). 3 to 5 dimensions are not rare. If you consider the legal entities and context period as dimensions, the rendering is even harder.

d). Some numbers are big – too big to fit into a table.

4. There is very little you can do with the textblock in the format of HTML/XHTML. You can create styles to fit your content into the small screen. Unfortunately, these styles could be nullified by the styles embedded in the HTML/XHTML codes in the textblock. These textblocks are optimized for the regular desktop browsers, not for the mobile browsers.

I hope the iXBRL experts will take rendering in the mobile devices into account when/if iXBRL is mandated.

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If you have creative ideas, please let me know. I am trying to make http://primeaim.com more user friendly in the mobile browsers.

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