Pottermore launches redesigned site with a message from J.K. Rowling

Pottermore 2.0 has launched.

Pottermore 2.0 has launched.

Pottermore launched their redesigned site early Tuesday morning with a message from author J.K. Rowling.

Gone away is the Map and chapter-by-chapter timeline, or even Diagon Alley and Wizard Duel. Pottermore as we know it has changed forever, embarking on a new era.

The new website comes with a handful of new features, revealed by the Menu on the right-hand side of the site. In the News section, the latest updates about all Harry Potter-related projects are reported on by the Pottermore correspondent, an anonymous source but professional journalist who was hired by Pottermore for the job. The correspondent writes with a strong grasp on the task at hand and a unique, personable voice, a refreshing departure from the monotonous tone of the Pottermore Insider.

On the other hand, the feature section displays listicles on the Wizarding World, like “5 Friendship Lessons We Learned From Dobby” and “The 5 Death Eaters You’ll Never Forget”, along with behind-the-scenes insights into the making of the Harry Potter films. This is light-hearted content but there inclusion is questionable when BuzzFeed does the same thing. The purpose of having an authoritative voice on this content is unnecessary.

At the heart of the site remains exclusive content from J.K. Rowling, discoverable in “Writing by J.K. Rowling”. The site launched with all the previously added content available, with more to come. To mark the beginning of the new era, Pottermore published a history of the Potter family, by J.K. Rowling, tracking their pedigree from the 12th century.

An audio message from the author also appears on the site upon the first visit, transcribed below:

Welcome to Pottermore. This is my magical corner of the internet, a place where you can explore my writing, both familiar and new, and where you can read features, articles and news from the Pottermore team. New information will be revealed about the characters, places, and magic you’re familiar with, as well as introductions to a few new characters, places, and notions. Pottermore is a place where you can unleash your imagination, and allow it to lead you on adventures. If you need a little magic in your life, you’ve come to the right place.

With this, J.K. Rowling redefines her project as the digital heart of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Pottermore was always meant to be just that, but in the long run it turned out to be more of a reading experience than anything.

Reactions to the site have been mixed; a lot of people praise the site for its accessibility, and others feel as though The mixed feelings are understandable; its very difficult to react to this because it is an extremely drastic, seemingly unreasoned change.

Pottermore 2.0 is “cooler” with its contemporary tiles, visual-heavy layout, and infinite scroll, but ultimately less imaginative as that idea of cool becomes generic and more visible across the web. By deviating from Harry’s story, going beyond Hogwarts, Pottermore became much less magical and all the more real. Its corporate, to say the least, and a visit to their “About” page will prove this point.

Pottermore’s Director of Product, Creative and Content, Anna Rafferty, in a Bookseller article prior to launch, discussed one of our issues with new Pottermore, teasing: “There are going to be hundreds of thousands of landing pages [on the new site].”

Indeed, there are a ton of landing pages covering nearly everything you could possibly think of in Harry’s world. But it’s too much to consume at once. Information is not presented in a succinct, organized manner. There’s no order in the content, no listed index, so visitors are left to click until they find something interesting, unless they know exactly what they want, in which case they can search for it.

Positively, the site is incredibly mobile-friendly. It works well on all devices. All content is searchable and shareable, which means more people can actively get involved with the community. Of course, J.K. Rowling’s new content continues to be the best part of the experience.

For now, Pottermore is still a work in progress. There is no registration function on the site, and the signature features of the site, the Sorting Hat and Wand questionnaire, are noticeably absent. The Pottermore team explained that they are actively working on incorporating these capabilities into the site, along with the long-anticipated Patronus test. Thankfully, Pottermore stays true to its original promise: more Potter.

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Pottermore teases phase 2 of the site: New design, logo, and more content

Pottermore will relaunch in the coming weeks with this new logo, written by J.K. Rowling, at large.

Pottermore will relaunch in the coming weeks with this new logo, written by J.K. Rowling, at large.

Following a previous message issued to the Pottermore community, on Friday the site formally announced plans to relaunch pottermore.com, along with a new design, logo, target audience and more content.

According to their press release, Pottermore will revamp the site in the coming weeks, commencing the second phase of J.K. Rowling’s project. The new Pottermore will house more original content from the Harry Potter author than ever before, indexed and searchable for the first time on browsers. The new design enables author J.K. Rowling to more easily contribute to the site, adding broad-ranging new content that focuses on all aspects of the Wizarding World.

From Susan L. Jurevics, Chief Executive Officer of Pottermore:

J.K. Rowling is continuing to expand her magical universe beyond the Harry Potter stories, and as the Wizarding World expands, so do we. We are excited to provide a new digital destination with an authentic voice, which will delight everyone interested in exploring this world. The new enhanced Pottermore is continually evolving, and is tailored to unlock and stimulate the imagination of our audience like never before.

Searchable content gave way to the elimination of mandatory site registration, so the site will be accessible to all visitors. In further terms of accessibility, the site fits mobile-devices first, so you can carry Harry’s world in your pocket. Though the site is made for smartphones and tablets, an online version will continue to exist.

The Pottermore Correspondent, a professional journalist hired by Pottermore, will replace the Pottermore Insider blog, which closed last spring. The Correspondent will write timely news articles and commentary on the happenings in Potterworld, including updates on the upcoming Warner Bros. film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the stage production Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, both premiering in 2016.

Click for high-res

Pottermore has been redesigned to complement the mobile focused world. Here is Pottermore on an iPhone.

All of these changes are part of an effort to move beyond Hogwarts, and address the evolving Harry Potter brand. First launched in 2012, Pottermore began as a virtual Hogwarts experience focused on Harry’s story — with House Cups, dueling, potion brewing, etc. This era is over now to make room for a site to satisfy fans of all types — from fair-weather to hardcore, young and old.

However, by the look of new stills released by Pottermore and the Bookseller, it appears that the new, sleeker design appeals to older fans — specifically those that grew up with Harry, and now want more Potter at their fingertips. Pottermore: Part 2 is all about aesthetic, and comes with a new logo from the hand of J.K. Rowling. The site blends the old with the new, combing 15 years worth of Harry Potter history.

The new site will incorporate all developments of Harry Potter since its first publication, including the films, as shown above.

The new site will incorporate all developments of Harry Potter since its first publication, including the films, as shown above.

We are skeptical of the extent to which this new site will be successful in the long term, but one thing is for certain… Pottermore might be stepping away from its original concept, but nevertheless, it stays true to its name with the promise of more Potter.

What do you think of Pottermore’s plans? Are you excited? Tell us in the comments below.

Read more in-depth from the Bookseller magazine: Pottermore readies radical relaunch

Pottermore to enter next phase of the site

Image courtesy of Pottermore

Image courtesy of Pottermore

Pottermore announced last week that they will be closing the current site and relaunching pottermore.com completely. 

Though a major overhaul has been hinted by the site for months now, the team confirmed the news with fans via Twitter and Owl Notification. According to the message, part one of Pottermore, focusing on Harry Potter’s story and life at Hogwarts, will soon end. This conclusion will make way for a new site, focused beyond Hogwarts and on the broader wizarding world created by author J.K. Rowling.

From Pottermore:

Soon, Pottermore as you know it will transform into a new and reimagined website, giving you the opportunity to discover even more about J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Part one of Pottermore’s story, in which you have enjoyed the depiction of Harry’s story through illustrated ‘Moment’ artwork and experienced life within Hogwarts, is ending. We are now preparing for part two of Pottermore’s story to begin. As J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World expands, so too will Pottermore, becoming a place to imagine more and share in a world beyond the seven book series.

Presumably, the expansion the notification mentions alludes to Fantastic Beasts as well as the upcoming stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Its a message that’s open to much interpretation and nothing else is known about the site’s prospects.

Pottermore assured Twitter followers that the site will still feature artwork, but the Moments themselves will change. J.K. Rowling’s exclusive content will still be available, but we suspect the presentation to be different. Nevertheless, Pottermore promises the new site will be packed with new features.

Pottermore is also making available a Certificate feature for fans as a memento for their time on the site. It encapsulates the Pottermore experience, listing the user’s membership anniversary, username, their wand, house, and house points. It is printable until 1:00pm BST on September 16.

The site unveiled the final Moments of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in June, but otherwise had an unusually mum summer, besides the addition of a wizarding timeline. It seems they were hard to work on this new site. We’ll wait and see…

As a reminder, Pottermore will announce the winner of the last House Cup this week, on Wednesday.

Final chapters of Prisoner of Azkaban released, new site launches

PottermoreToday Pottermore unveiled the final chapters of the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and launched many exciting new features.

In the final installment, which takes users from the sixteenth chapter through the end, users will “encounter Dark creatures including Red Caps, Grindylows and Hinkypunks in the Defence Against the Dark Arts exam” and travel back in time with Harry and Hermione. You can also discover five new exclusive content entries from J.K. Rowling, including the much anticipated biography of Remus Lupin.

As we said, Pottermore is also launching its updated site today. This Homepage features many new features, including the Story Navigator and the Map. The Pottermore Insider has been leading up to this over the past few weeks by releasing information about it. If you need help, there is on-screen guidance to help you around the new site.

To explore the final chapters and discover the new homepage, you simply need to sign-in to Pottermore.

Happy Exploring!

P.S. How fittingly did they release the chapters — on Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Harry and Jo! 🙂

New Homepage coming to Pottermore.com

The Pottermore Insider has announced that the coming weeks will not only bring the final chapters of Prisoner of Azkaban to Pottermore.com, but a new Homepage as well.

In apparent conclusion of the recent updates, Pottermore has announced that this new Homepage will be a new way to follow the Moments, and will include a new Map “featuring areas where you can find and access all of the activities you regularly like to take part in, such as brewing potions, challenging students to duels, or shopping in Diagon Alley.” From what we can gather, it will be in place of the current Gateway homepage.

In the Insider post, Pottermore explained that users will use the new Story Navigator to explore Harry’s story. We previously reported on this in the last few weeks.

The Story Navigator

The Story Navigator

The post reads: “You can scroll through the available books on Pottermore.com, browse through thumbnails of the Moments, and click on the ones you want to explore in full.”

A new Map will feature all the locations and activities from the Wizarding World that are currently available on the site, including Diagon Alley and Hogwarts locations like the Great Hall and your own house Common Room. “To access them you’ll simply need to click on your desired location on the Map,” the Insider writes.

The Map

The Map

Pottermore makes note that as the site evolves, more locations and activities will be added to the Map for you to discover and enjoy. (From the looks of it, it seems like this Map will be designed like the Maurader’s Map, and we’re pretty excited it!)

Because you will be able to access all of the locations and activities from the Map, the new “slim-line” Top Bar will display a summary of your profile and your recent activity.

From the Insider post:

As you collect items from the Moments you will see them being added to your Trunk in real time, and the most recent Badge you have collected will appear here along with your Owl Notifications and your House Crest (once you’ve been through the Sorting Ceremony).

Another addition will be the Side Bar feature. The Side Bar will be placed on the right-hand side of your screen and will contain updates and information “so you don’t miss out on anything new,” the Insider says.

The Side Bar is to the right of the moment.

The Side Bar is to the right of the moment.

From the post:

When you’re exploring a Moment from Harry’s story the Side Bar will house the ‘Read About’ content as well as a new ‘Related Moments’ feature, which will showcase thumbnails of Moments that include similar characters, locations or themes to the Moment you are currently exploring. Combined with the new commenting features, this will provide you with even more opportunity to locate and discuss your favorite things about the Harry Potter series.

Pottermore said there will be on-screen guidance to help you get used to the new Homepage.

Remember, the new features will be available once the final installment of Prisoner of Azkaban launches. Rest assured everyone, the wait is almost over…

What do you think about the new homepage and its features? Are you excited about them? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!

All images courtesy of Pottermore. Thanks to Robert for the tip.

Share comments beneath Moments and Book Pages: More new features coming to Pottermore

As reported last week, Pottermore announced that new features will be coming to the site once the final chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is released in the coming weeks. Today, they announced two of those new features: the ability to comment on Moments, chapters, and J.K. Rowling’s entries, and Book Pages.

With the ability to comment on the Moments, users can share their thoughts about the Moment, read other people’s comments, and interact with the community.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

You will not only have the ability to comment on Moments, but each book, each chapter, and each exclusive content entry from J.K. Rowling, so you can discuss your feelings and ideas about the Harry Potter stories and interact with the Pottermore community.

Another addition that is coming to the site is Book Pages. With the launch of these new features, each book in the Harry Potter series will have its own Book Page. “Here you will be able to discuss your thoughts and reflections on that book, whether it’s currently available to explore on Pottermore.com or not,” writes Pottermore.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

Image courtesy of Pottermore.

Are you excited about these new features? Last week we learned about the new Story Navigator – click here to find out more about it. Remember, over the coming weeks Pottermore will be introducing the new features, and also sharing exclusive behind-the-scenes insights about the last installment of Prisoner of Azkaban on the Pottermore Insider, the only place for official Pottermore news.

Pottermore to unveil new site this summer

Pottermore will be going under a major revision this summer.

Pottermore will be going under a major revision this summer.

Pottermore will be undergoing a major revamping summer, with a new site design, new capabilities, and much more as it “seeks to broaden both the user base and its publishing business.”

This summer, Pottermore will launch a new design for the site that will enable users to use the core parts of the Pottermore experience – getting sorted at Hogwarts, cast spells, and play Wizard Duel without registering for the site.

Once users sign up for Pottermore, they will be able to explore the books and content in any order they like. This will automatically eliminate the required tasks that users had to complete before moving on with the story (like mini-games, etc.) The site will also feature general information about the world of Harry Potter for those not acquainted with the books, such as “Who is Harry Potter?”

The new site will also increase user and site interactivity by allowing players to visit their Common Rooms and shop in Diagon Alley without incorporating the Harry Potter story, separating the two.

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne told  The Bookseller about the new updates, saying that although the original site was a “fantastic” arena for hardcore fans, it was more difficult for those not familiar with Harry Potter.

A quote from his interview with The Bookseller about the updates and the business side of it:

“As it stands, if you don’t know the books, you won’t get much out of it. What we want to do is open it out for those people who haven’t read the books, or who haven’t seen the films, but perhaps come to it via the Lego, or the Harry Potter computer games.”

“This to me is ultimately a publishing business. We are beginning to see what Pottermore is: it was never just a website… It is a book, but we didn’t publish it as a book. It is a good example of what publishers need to do: think about all the ways of publishing a piece of content.”

Along with this, Pottermore will also be releasing new products, including apps and the recently announced Book of Potions for Wonderbook on PlayStation 3. Pottermore has also launched CreateMore, a company that has been “working with established brands such as the Beano [a British comic] and Guinness World Records over their digital strategies.” Redmayne hinted the release of new products and working with other brands in our two-part interview with him back in February.

Will this revamp finally reach the needs of all Harry Potter fans? Share your thoughts about the upcoming updates in the comments below.