You have reached the final stretch of your release cycle, and the time has come to deliver your product and create release notes. To craft excellent release notes, you need to know exactly what release notes are.
A release note is a technical document created and circulated during the release of a new software product or product update. It provides a brief overview of the new product or summarizes the specific modifications made in the product update, such as recent changes, feature enhancements, or bug fixes. Release Notes are also called as Changelogs.
As you will need to craft release notes when launching a new product or delivering an update, let’s talk about how you can write release notes effectively.
For better management of your product, changelogs are very important to deliver updates and notices efficiently. Let’s have a look on 5 steps to follow when writing a release note or changelog.
1. Use Plain Language
Release notes are often describes technical updates, but imagine reading,
“Error Code: 525, script css=”dm_int.css” Resolved.”
Exactly, it’s meaningless unless you are the part of development team yourself.
Instead, write it as simple as “Dark Mode Issue Resolved.” So the users can easily understand it.
2. Make it Concise
Let’s say, you’ve added a new nickname feature in your dashboard, that’s great. Just mention it directly in a sentence or two. Readers often ignore unnecessarily long notes.
3. Categorize Logically
Categorize your release notes by using bold category heading etc. Such as, Fixes, New Features and, Improvements etc.
4. Include Links
If you introduced a new feature, that’s amazing. Link the feature in your release notes for the users to easily find it as well.
5. Engage Using Your Brand’s Personality
Companies often present product updates in engaging ways.
Slack, for example, included this update in the release notes accompanying its version 1.99:
“Fixed: A crash would occur on launch if a highlighted word matched an emoji. This was emojiist and has been remedied.”
So, that’s all about the writing. Now if we talk about how you can manage them, let’s have a look at 5 companies to see how they effectively manage their release notes.
Looking for inspiration? Quality examples can be a great starting point. Check out some of the best release note or changelog examples from companies that excel in storytelling their products.
There are so many good things going on in ProductDyno’s release notes. Before we even mention the actual release notes themselves, notice the URL they use:
Look at that, isn’t it very simple, understandable and appealing?
ProductDyno uses KuickFeed to manage their product changelogs. KuickFeed doesn’t only allow to make simple and custom sub-domains like above, but to manage and push updates and notifications about the product with ease and simplicity without fighting with the code or programming.
Slack doesn’t use any tool to manage and organize their release notes/changelogs, instead they have created a separate page on their website. Let’s take a look at their URL:
While the URL is not that simple and elegant to look at, on the page, they keep their updates very simple and organized with links attached to all their new features to make it user friendly. It’s another good example of managing changelogs.
Like Slack, Discord also created a changelog page with-in their website, which goes by the URL:
While it’s not a dedicated sub-domain like ProductDyno, but it’s not that complicated either, which is a good thing.
One thing that is different on Discord’s notes is they do not only provide the changes that they already made but even the future changes as well. That’s a good practice if you can do that.
Shopify’s changelog is created on a dedicated sub-domain, which brings qualities like, easy to remember and, visual appeal in the URL:
Shopify’s changelog page has a lot to inspire from, such as, an aesthetic theme and look, easy to understand and user friendly interface and words and, importantly, the notes include everything including links to navigate to the update.
Trello’s changelog page is created with-in their website. You can navigate to their changelog page at:
Trello’s changelogs are extremely detailed ones. They include everything about the change, including the technicalities as well. You might find it difficult to understand if you are not a developer but, they include everything.
Release notes or changelogs might not seem important to you, but they are part of your product and can improve product engagement massively if crafted properly. They are important to deliver updates and notices efficiently. It is important to show respect to your Release Notes or Changelogs and consider them as chances to engage with both your user community and the larger market.
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