Friday, 30 September 2011

Beta and beyond

UPDATE: Please visit Making Pottermore even better for the most up-to-date information about Beta testing and when Pottermore will be open to everyone. For information about site developments and changes (for those in the Beta) please visit the Pottermore site updates page.

There are now one million people with access to Pottermore and everyone who registered through The Magical Quill challenge can access the site.

The Beta is enabling us to learn a lot about how people want to use Pottermore – and to understand the features they enjoy the most.

Since the launch of the Beta, we’ve seen really high levels of activity, and interaction with the site has been phenomenal. This affects how quickly we can give everyone access. As a result, we’ve decided to extend the Beta period beyond September and take a different approach to the way new users are brought onto the site.

From the end of October, registration will be opened to everyone and we’ll be giving access to registered users in phases. Access may be granted quickly, but please note it could also take some weeks or months, depending on demand.

We are also making a number of enhancements and simplifications to Pottermore, in order to make the site smoother and more enjoyable - so existing Beta users will likely experience some changes when new users begin to join.

Finally, the Pottermore Shop, which will sell the Harry Potter eBooks and digital audio books, will now open in the first half of 2012, in order to allow us to focus on our first priority: opening Pottermore to as many people as possible and making the experience as good as it can be.

I’ve only just received my Welcome email. How can I give you feedback if I’ve only had a few days to explore the site?

As many Beta users only received their Welcome email in the final week of September, we are extending the Beta period to get as much feedback from our early-access users as possible – and to ensure that the site will be ready when more people are enabled.

All Beta users will have the chance to take part in a Pottermore survey, and we’ll be using the responses provided to help us improve Pottermore for everyone.

What has Pottermore learned so far from Beta users?

They’ve been incredibly active, interacting with the site far more intensely and frequently than we thought they would. (You might be interested to know the site has already had 550 million page views!) We’ve been making modifications and improvements to accommodate the way Pottermore is being used, and we’ve also made the decision to stagger the process of giving new users access so that we can ensure that everyone on the site has the best possible experience.

As a Beta user, how am I helping to shape the Pottermore experience?

We’re tweaking different parts of the site based on how you’re interacting with it and the feedback you’re currently giving us. We’ll also be sending out a Beta survey to all Beta participants to help us decide which features to enhance and which to simplify.

The site isn't always available, or can be very slow. Why is this?

As with most new sites, we've been experiencing technical challenges as more people begin to use Pottermore. These are usually quickly resolved as they arise, but can affect site performance or availability for short periods. We will continue to let you know, here on the Insider, if the site is unavailable for an extended period of time. We'd like to thank you for your patience.

When will I be able to duel again?

This area of the site has proved to be even more popular than we anticipated and we want to make sure that it will be able cope with the large number of users we expect before turning it back on.

We know people are keen for Wizard’s Duel to return and we’ll let you know, via the Insider, the moment it’s available.

I’m not in the Beta. When will Pottermore be available to me?

We expect to open registration to everyone from the end of October. Registering means that you'll be able to create a Pottermore account and select a username. You won’t have immediate access to the site as we’ll be enabling people in phases.

Once you’ve registered, we’ll send you a Welcome email to let you know when your Pottermore account has been activated. This may arrive quickly but please note it could also take a number of weeks or months, depending on demand.

I've already submitted my email address to Pottermore. Does this mean I'm registered?

Not yet, but we'll be using the email address you submitted to let you know when Pottermore registration has begun.

When will the Pottermore Shop be open?

As our first priority is to get as many people onto the site as possible, we have decided to open the shop in the first half of 2012.

We will keep you updated with news about the Pottermore Shop here on the blog over the next few months.

View this post in French, Spanish, German or Italian.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

One million Welcome emails delivered

Earlier today, we sent out the one-millionth Welcome email - which means that everyone who successfully registered for the Beta should now have access to Pottermore.

We’re expecting the site to be extremely busy over the next 24 hours as people log in and explore Pottermore for the first time. As such, you may have to wait to sign in but please keep trying if you aren't able to gain entry straight away.

Friday, 23 September 2011

House pride week

Last week we posted a message on Twitter to announce the start of Pottermore house pride week, a four-day celebration of the Hogwarts houses.

We asked our Twitter followers to support their particular house with messages that highlighted the characteristics they felt embodied their particular house, using a specific hashtag each day so we could see all the messages and choose our favourites to retweet.

Day one of house pride week was dedicated to the 'cunning' students of Slytherin. They kicked off the week with some nice snake-based puns, and some great explanations of what it really means to wear the green and silver.

(Tweets pictured via @Sk31943 and @PotterWorldUK.)

The Slytherins were a tough act to follow, but the Hufflepuffs did themselves proud on Wednesday. Of course, the famous good nature and general 'niceness' of those in yellow and black was the main topic of conversation.

(Tweets pictured via RenaLever and @Emanlonden).

Thursday was the day for the smart Ravenclaws to speak up and, as you might expect, they rose to the challenge with particular vim and vigour, employing word play to show off their smarts whilst letting everyone know that being humble is a big part of being clever.

(Tweets pictured via @ANerdyStarKid and @RavenclawTweets.)

And finally, Friday belonged to the Gryffindors for one final day of house pride. The students in scarlet and gold didn't let us down, roaring out the week with messages of bravery, daring and chivalry.

(Tweets pictured via @SecretWizard7 and @parisawulfric.)

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part in house pride week, we loved reading all your messages, and we're sorry we couldn't retweet them all.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Accessing Pottermore

UPDATE: Please visit Making Pottermore even better for the most up-to-date information about Beta testing and when Pottermore will be open to everyone. For information about site developments and changes (for those in the Beta) please visit the Pottermore site updates page.

Update at 14:00 BST: The site is now available again.

Pottermore will be offline from approximately 10:30am (BST) today. The downtime will last approximately three hours.

We are taking the site offline in order to apply a number of updates and bug fixes. The most important of these will allow us to invite more Beta users to the site.

We are nearing the end of September and the culmination of the Beta period that we outlined back in July. We had hoped to send out Welcome emails to all our Beta testers by this stage but, due to the phenomenal amount of activity and interaction taking place on Pottermore over the past few weeks, we have had to balance the number of Beta users against the performance and stability of the site.

As a result, we still have Welcome emails to send out. We are hoping to send out the remaining emails over the next few days and we will be updating this blog again early next week. While we can't reply directly to questions posted on Twitter, we have been collecting your comments and queries (as well as the information you've sent us via the 'Beta feedback' button) and we'll try to answer the most-asked questions next week here on the Insider.

Thank you all for your patience and the feedback and comments you've given us so far. The reaction to Pottermore has far exceeded our expectations and we're working as hard as we can to make sure even more people can share in the Pottermore experience.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Welcome emails to go out daily

Last night, Thursday 8 September, at approximately 10:00pm (BST), we sent out some more Welcome emails.

The good news is that we no longer expect to pause sending these (as mentioned in our Beta testing and Welcome emails post). Instead, we plan to send emails out daily over the next two weeks. As always, there’s a chance that our plans may alter as we assess the site and how it is reacting to new users but we will update you if anything changes.

For those who will be joining Pottermore over the next two weeks, don’t forget to read our From duelling to potions post and check our Help page for answers to any other questions you have about the site.

Friday, 2 September 2011

From duelling to potions

In today’s Insider post, we answer your questions on duelling, Beta feedback, moderation, and potions.

‘… It'd be nice to know IF Wizard Dueling will be available to beta testers again. I don't care when, just a yes or no.’ [sic]

Yes! We know that you like Wizard’s Duel - a lot. This section of the site has proven to be immensely popular and we’ve been making a number of improvements behind the scenes to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible. We just need to finish making and testing our changes.

‘I'm wondering how helpful the BETA feedback really will be… I can only click boxes to tell them if I enjoy the site and if it runs smoothly. I wish I could tell them what I find helpful, and what I think would improve the site.’ [sic]

If you suspect there’s a technical issue with one of the Pottermore pages, you can click on the ‘Beta feedback’ button (located in the bottom right-hand corner of the site). Select the page you are on, then go to the ‘The page loads and works well on my screen’ option.

While you won’t be able to give specific details, if you choose one of the ‘disagree’ buttons, we’ll know that we should re-visit that page and carry out testing.

In the next few weeks, we’ll also be sending out a Pottermore Beta survey. Along with opinion-related questions there will also be a space for you to add comments, so you’ll be given a chance to tell us specific details if there’s something you think we should know about.

‘Do you know why a comment in your house common room might be "under moderation?" Each comment I make won't post and it says that. I have not used bad language, said anything nasty, or broken any rules…’

Comments are automatically moderated if they use language that cannot be immediately confirmed to be within the Pottermore Terms & Conditions. The good news is that as more and more comments are approved through the moderation process the ‘allowed’ language list grows, so future comments that use identical words should appear on the site faster.

It can sometimes be difficult to work out why a particular comment you’ve posted doesn’t make it onto the site straight away.

If you see that one of your comments is under moderation, please wait until you receive a ‘confirmed’ or ‘declined’ message from the moderation team before trying to comment in the same place again – otherwise you might end up posting the same thing multiple times!

‘potions take way too long to brew #pottermore :/’ [sic]

We’ve noticed that people are finding that the potion brewing times are too long, so we’re making some tweaks to these. You’ll see the changes implemented in the coming weeks.

Please keep the feedback coming and, remember, if you’d like further information you can visit Pottermore’s Help section.