From The Bookseller:
Pottermore, the website built to extend the Harry Potter brand online and sell e-book editions of the original seven titles, is to be relaunched with a radical new design and approach. The new mobile-first version will drop the gaming elements, focus on its core audience of young adults, and allow its content to be indexed by search engines.
The overhaul, to be unveiled in the coming weeks, has been led by Susan Jurevics who joined as Pottermore c.e.o. almost two years ago. The move sees the website shift its focus away from introducing new readers to the brand, to “delighting” those users who have grown up with the books and who now wish to explore more facets of the growing franchise.
Jurevics said the changes had been driven by identifying the core users of the site, how technology had developed since its original launch (in April 2012), and the need to reflect that the Harry Potter universe is no longer confined to the original seven books. A stage play is currently under development, and the first of three new films, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”, is to be released next year.
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Jurevics told The Bookseller: “When Pottermore first started, it was positioned for the next generation of readers, and that next generation was almost by default tagged to be children. So the current site gamified the content, making it very simplistic in terms of collecting things and casting spells. That was appropriate for children, but that wasn’t actually the core audience.” Jurevics said that the user base was “overwhelmingly young adult and female”, something she discovered “pretty quickly” once she joined the firm in October 2013 from Sony, where she was senior vice-president, responsible for the company’s marketing.
The relaunch also reflected technological advancements in the way users now access content sites, Jurevics said: “From a technology point of view, when Pottermore was designed and conceived the iPad had not yet been launched, and the population didn’t yet sleep with their phones on. The current Pottermore is really a laptop or desktop experience and that type of usage is going away.”The new site will be smartphone-first to reflect this “fundamental change in user behaviour”, with content designed for touchscreens and swiping.
Perhaps the most significant shift is the removal of the central concept behind the original site, which required users to become students of a virtual Hogwarts in order to progress through the books and experience the site. Jurevics said the change reflected the way the Harry Potter series had now evolved outside of the core seven books.
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Pottermore now employs 35 people.
Link to the rest at The Bookseller
When Pottermore first opened, a lot of people, including PG, checked it out.
After about ten minutes on the site, he concluded it was a mess. With respect to JK Rowling, it was a web equivalent to vanity publishing – extraordinarily expensive, but without any likelihood of commercial success. PG would love to know how much was spent on the original site and how much traffic it was generating after a few months.
PG checked out Pottermore’s rank on Alexa, not always terribly accurate, but free and not bad for broad generalizations. Pottermore’s global rank for traffic is currently 9,487 and its US rank is 3,805. This is a higher rank than your author’s site, but really bad for a site driven by the Harry Potter/JK Rowling brand, especially for a site employing 35 people.
By comparison, XKCD.com, a low-budget site that appears to be operated by about 1.5 (very talented) people, has a global rank of 1,720 and a US rank of 574.