For a University project we were set with a live brief in collaboration with Salisbury Cathedral and RedBalloon to, in small groups, create an iOS app for the cathedral’s 800th Anniversary Magna Carta exhibition. The best apps created by the groups were to be selected and used by Salisbury Cathedral.

For the project we had to come up with a unique app idea centered around the Magna Carta. As the document is written in latin we thought it would be good to be able to get a translation into English to know what is actually written. We also noticed that the document is a continuous block of text and there is no clear what to see where one clause ends and the next begins. We combined these two ides in our app.

The Cathedral supplied us with a high-resolution image of the Magna Carta which we used as our starting point and we placed translucent overlays on top of the image to highlight where the individual clauses are. The image is zoomable so the user can go in and explore the details of the actual document - something which can’t truly be appreciated when looking at the physical thing. The overlays, when tapped, would bring up a translation of the clause while hiding the other overlays to give focus to the selected clause. We also added an ability to feature which clauses were highlighted on the screen, if any, by letting the user filter by categories related to the clauses.

We used a simplified translation in the app rather than a more literal/ direct one so that it was more accessible and understandable by a wider audience.

We made this as an iPad specific app to make the use of the extra screen space which allowed the image of the document to really stand out and be appreciated - something which couldn’t be done on a smaller device.

The cathedral loved our idea and execution and chose to use our app, and even purchased an iPad to make it a part of the exhibition.

Magna Carta App Icon

App icon

Magna Carta App Designs

Demo of application in use