There’s no rule that says release notes have to be dry, matter-of-fact lists of your recent changes and bug fixes. A couple of sentences is more than enough room to infuse your notes with some color, and doing that will vastly increase the chances of your release notes actually being read. There are also a number of subtle tricks you can use to maximize the readability of your “What’s New” section with minimal effort.
Let’s take a look at three example release notes below to see some of the many ways you can spice up your own.
Capture Your Brand’s Voice
Though it likely won’t be appropriate for you to mention cannabis or dating tips in your own release notes (unless you’re working on the latest dating app for potheads), Leafly understands who their user base is and isn’t shy about speaking directly to them. This style of writing demands a bit more effort and creativity than a simple “recent changes” list, but this kind of effort pays off (it paid off for Leafly—they earned a free shoutout to their app in this very article!).
Beyond the “pickup artist” joke, notice that the writer used “Your friends at Leafly have also…” instead of “We have also…” to add a warm and personal touch. They also could have used variations such as “Your favorite cannabis review app has decided to…” or “Because we love you, we’ve added…”, to provide a few alternative examples. This type of subtle change is fairly low-effort, but it goes a long way.
Connect With Your Community
Camino Portugués—Wise Pilgrim
Providing your users with a direct line of communication (such as your personal email address) is a great way to let them know there’s a real person on the other end of each update, as opposed to some faceless developer who’s only out for a cheap buck. Especially while your community is small, adding your personal email may increase the number of bug reports you recieve.
Furthermore, if a friend or member of your community goes out of their way to help your app, release notes are the perfect place to give them a shout-out. It shows your appreciation more than a thank you email would, and it shows you value each user as an individual.
Use Emojis To Increase Readability
Major updates that pack exciting new features are often the easiest release notes to write, as it isn’t hard to find things to say when you have plenty to talk about. However, the majority of updates merely introduce minor bug fixes, and for those notes it can be a challenge to fill out the “What’s New” section in a meaningful way.
DoubleTwist Pro music player did two things I really like with this release note to spice up a relatively sparse update. Firstly, they swapped their bullet points for music notes to add a welcome and low-effort visual effect. Though we wouldn’t advise you to go crazy with 🔥 (fire) and 💯 (100) emojis to “connect with millennials,” a well-placed ✅ (green checkmark) or ⚠️ (warning sign) can increase readability while drawing in the reader’s attention.
Secondly, a “Previously” section was included to highlight important updates which were introduced in a previous patch. As it’s typically common to follow a major update with a minor hotfix, a “Previously” section can help fill out your minor updates while reminding users of important changes they may have missed.
Looking for more tips?
We have plenty more to share! Following this blog for:
Examples of the best release notes
Analysis on what goes into a good release note
Practical tips on upping your release note game
Tools to make writing your change logs easier
Also, check out Appnouncements for a simple, small SDK that enables you and your whole team to embed beautiful release notes directly into your native iOS and Android apps.