CASE STUDY: Mass Explained iPad app

Project: The Mass Explained iPad App

Design Firm: Ampersand Design Group

Designer: Dan Gonzalez

Client: Agnus, LLC

Project SummaryThe Roman Catholic Mass is the source and summit of the Catholic faith. While cradle Catholics may know the prayers and responses said at Mass, many do not know their significance or historical development. The MassExplained iPad app was designed as a scholarly yet totally approachable and thoroughly entertaining educational tool to help faithful Catholics as well as the general population learn more about the Mass.

The Challenge Image Dan Gonzalez of Ampersand Design Group comments that the most important task was making the Mass come alive. "There are many books out there on the Mass, but most are just grey text on a page. They are not very welcoming, especially to today's young adults who are accustomed to visual stimuli." The solution, Gonzalez asserts, had to be visually engaging and have interactive elements to appeal to this target audience. "We need to capture and keep the attention of users who are accustomed to updating each other with pictures and videos on their mobile devices and typically communicate in 140 characters or less."

The Solution Gonzalez believes that in order to meet the users in their native digital environment, the solution was to create an iPad app as opposed to a printed book. "The Catholic Church has been blessed with a vast inheritance of paintings, sculptures, vessels, vestments, churches, cathedrals and sacred sites—not to mention its treasury of prayers and liturgical chants. Image A tablet app is the perfect vehicle to showcase this heritage. While nothing can compare to actually witnessing the art and architecture or hearing the music first-hand, this technology allows for a more complete user experience than would a static photo or lengthy description." The primary program used to encase all the elements was Adobe InDesign with Adobe's Digital Publishing Suite. In InDesign, Gonzalez was able to design each page and, using MSOs (Multi-State Objects), create engaging slideshows within the pages. The DPS solution facilitated the creation of scrollable frames, sounds triggered by events, digital video and interactive panoramas.

The Flexibility of 3D "To create the assets that were placed in InDesign we turned to Strata Design 3D CX. It was the perfect tool because from one model we could generate beautifully rendered stills, 3D animation with alpha channels, a rotatable 3D object, as well as virtual panoramas. The assets were used in the app itself and across all promotional materials both in print and online." Image


The Reverend Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, calls the MassExplained iPad app "an extraordinary work using the latest technology to advance the proclamation of the Gospel."

Lino Rulli, 3-time Emmy award winner and host of Catholic Guy on SiriusXM Satellite Radio said "the future of Catholic book publishing has arrived."

The iPad app is being presented to the USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops). With their approval, the app will be used in all parochial high schools across the country to teach liturgy and sacraments.

The Designer Image

Dan Gonzalez — the author of Mass Explained — was interviewed by Gus Lloyd, host of the morning show Seize the Day which airs on The Catholic Channel on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. Listen to the interview (16 minutes)

Purchase The Mass Explained App Here

Purchase The Mass Explained Shape Collection

Other Sample Videos from the App

The Catholic Processional Cross and the Roman Standard
The Wilderness Tabernacle, Herodian Temple and the Roman Catholic Mass
Roman Catholic Mass Entrance procession explained