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Today Pottermore announced that it was going to extend the site’s beta period  and close for several days beginning in November for some systems upgrades and site maintenance. 

After looking closely at all the information that we’ve gathered, we have decided to further extend the Beta period so we can improve Pottermore before giving more people access. This means the site will not be opening to new users in the immediate future, but please know that we will open registration as soon as we can.

Is this good, bad or ugly? While it’s a bad thing for non-beta members who are waiting to get on the system, my hope is that they truly took the feedback from Beta users to heart.  To do all the things that we mentioned requires some systems reconfigurations and some significant programming. 

The potential ugly?  According to Hypable.com, they are forecasting that the beta test period is going to last into 2012. 

Hopefully the new upgrades will be significant enough to make the users come back to the site and won’t disappoint new users when they are finally allowed in.

As a beta user I found the “feedback” button on the site completely useless. The comments area became the only area to provide feedback although you never knew if any at Pottermore was paying attention.

Today Pottermore posted a true user survey which is definitely a step above what they currently have.  It’s not perfect, but it’s a way to get our voices heard. We all want Pottermore to be a wonderful experience for all. Let’s give them our feedback so they’ll know what they need to do!
Please click the following link to take part in the Pottermore Beta testers survey:https://www.research.net/s/pottermorebetasurvey

This week the folks at Hypable posted an open letter to Pottermore’s new CEO Charlie Redmayne.  Redmayner, executive vice-president and chief digital officer at HarperCollins, brings experience from the digital book publishing world as well as internet start up companies such as teen site mykindaplace.

The letter gives some good advice to Redmayer on how to improve the site.  On their list of things for the him to do are:

1) Let us see real names. 

2) Give us more ways to interact with friends. 

3) Tell us when Chamber of Secrets will be available! 

4) The Purple Screen of Death has got to go. 

5) Are we truly being sorted into our Hogwarts House?

 6) Add features that make us want to visit the site on a daily or weekly basis.   

According to Hypable – “ Each house currently has within 1000 students of one another. It doesn’t seem like the even number of people in each house happened by coincidence. Are there truly an even amount of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, and Ravenclaw students in the real world?”  There’s some really good discussion in the Hypable’s comments area about this this. 

Hypable staff brought up the idea of giving us games to make us want to go back.  One idea was having something akin to a virtual pet.  Someone in the comments agreed and mentioned having to care and feed for pet owls.  I think that’s great idea.  How about even pet dragon… maybe all those books we collected on dragons could then come in handy!

The comments left by fans provide even more insights and great feedback.   Someone brought up adding a trivial game based on the books or even based on the subjects in the Hogwarts classes and then have the “Professors” provide the correct answers.

Another person mentioned that target age for the Pottermore users.  Should it be for the younger generation that is just now discovering the books?  Or should it be targeted for the generation that actually grew up with the books?  Those who grew up with teh books are in their 20s, are net savvy and don’t need the child protections which seem to burden the site.

What do you think?