Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The New Pottermore Has Been Unveiled: A Brief Report

Pottermore Website Newest Features
Originally opened for beta testers in 2011 and then officially open to the entire internet April 2012, Pottermore was once a journey fans could make exploring all seven books through illustrations and moments. Now three years later, the hub of the Potterhead crowd has changed its direction.

As promised by the Pottermore team, part two of the interactive Harry Potter made its major transition. Nearly after a week when the final House Cup was released in September 2015, the website unveiled its new feathers as well as design and features.

Welcomed Favorites
A major hit for fans was the new information written exclusively for Pottermore by J.K. Rowling. Instead of perusing the website book-by-book or waiting for new intel on Twitter, the website now has a page dedicated to links of her writings.

When making our way through the books on the older Pottermore, an extract was featured for every chapter. This old favorite remains on the website - now in simpler text form - titled as Explore The Story.

Character Profiles remain on the website. Instead of a brief description of the character and a list of moments the character was involved in throughout the series, visitors can enjoy a combination of moments, artwork, quotes, film stills, and details such as their name, wand, house and patronus.

New Features
With the simplicity of the website, more blog-esque posts are added to the website under Features. Posts such as 16 Pearls of Wisdom by Albus Dumbledore or 5 Death Eaters You'll Never Forget. Posts such as these were once unheard of and now the website already has numerous individual posts dedicated imaginative behind-the-scenes information from the books and films.

An accessible, more elegant and simplified design is obviously Pottermore's aim with the overhaul, but it may be a downside for hardcore fans. Will the new design suffice? Personally, what is missing thoroughly is that unique personalization - a void fans will have to get used to.

Pottermore has succeeded in becoming its own official online encyclopedia, but whether the easier, smoother design will keep fans invested will remain to be seen. As of now, the website does not understandably include as many from the books as much as before, but this does not mean more information will be added in the future.

What's replaced a personalized exploration is the "Pottermore Correspondent". Giving an insider's feel to the website, blog posts, interviews, and features about the series has been published by a specific author, if as of now unknown author, confirmed as not J.K. Rowling.

New Design
The revamping of Pottermore is a smoother and simpler one. Having originally started on the web before the popular use of mobile phones and tablets, Pottermore's improvements will be more user-friendly. The design - overall - is less bulkier and plays to a mix of a website as well as a blog.

An insiders' tidbit is that the wizarding world has been colored coded for the web. Through a giant flow chart, the designers decided on the color scheme for every character, object, and moment by breaking them into how they were described by J.K. Rowling, does it have house allegiance, is it material, and whether it’s bloodline is noble, ignoble or Muggle. So every page is thoroughly created for every character, object, and so on.

A collection of the wondrous illustrations from the previous Pottermore as well as more artwork and stills from the series are included throughout the website - therefore not limiting itself to one medium or the other.

Even better with the new inception is a search bar tool. Nearly every website is required to have one so visitors have that ability to go to pages they are specifically looking for. This was a tool that was not utilized in the former look, and now I will say it is accessible to find specific characters, objects, or books.

Through the menu, visitors can easily jump to Writing from J.K Rowling, to News, and the Shop with a click of a mouse. Long gone is the exclusivity of the website where visitors had to sign up to explore the website - it is now open to everyone.

What's in Store for the Future?
While the personalized profiles for readers may be long gone, Pottermore promises to add back some of our old favorites: a Sorting Hat Quiz. Discovering whether we were Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff, and Slytherin were major draws to the original concept of the website, and this feature will be coming back at some point. Another potential quiz that is on the horizon is the ability for fans to discover their own Patronus - something we've had been looking forward to.

Though the book and film series may have concluded, and new information will be added to over time, news and articles will be included as well.

In 2016, a spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them will kick off a trilogy of installments based on the character Newt Scamander. Coverage has already begun for the film series on the website.

A stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be hitting the London stage. Details of the play have been very tight-lipped, except for the adamant confirmation by Rowling that this production is not a prequel. More information about this project is promised to be added as news develops.

Pottermore 2.0 has already kicked off with information and visuals to satisfy fans, and offers the promise of much more innovate and interesting details from the books and movies we love. Will the design and simplification keep readers returning. We shall see!

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