How to Nail Your Release Notes

When you update your app and write a release note, you probably just make a list of new features or go with a cliched “Minor bug fixes” phrase. But is this really the best way to use space in the What’s New section? Probably, not.

In this post, we’ll discuss the different ways in which developers write their release notes, what should and what shouldn’t be included into your what’s new content, and we’ll illustrate all this with examples.


What developers write in their release notes

Release notes for frequent updates

There has been a tendency among top app publishers like Facebook or Pinterest to not mention the actual changes at all. Instead, they come up with messages that boil down to this: we update the app every 1/2/3/ weeks in order to deliver the best user experience. Thanks for using our app.

Maybe, it makes sense, when the app is updated very often. However, many users complain that they are not told about the new features. It’s not a good idea to apply this strategy unless you roll out an update every week or two.


Humorous release notes

The release notes of applications like Medium actually provide an interesting reading.

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Some find this kind of humorous release notes annoying, some can’t wait to read another one. But you can’t please everbody. So if this style matches your app’s personality, go for it. You can provide the details about new features, but in a non-boring way.

What you can use release notes for

A release note is a great way to attract users’ attention to your app. It’s like a push notification, but you can add considerably more text.

So what can you use this space for:
- To tell users where they can send their questions, like VSCO does.


- To ask them to review your application

- To tell something about the future plans

You know how hard it is to build a buzz around the app’s new update. So why miss the opportunity of announcing the upcoming features via What’s New text? Let the anticipation build up.

Concentrating on user benefits

Most developers know that app descriptions should concentrate on user benefits rather than on product features and should end with a call to action. However, many forget these rules when writing release notes. And that is a big mistake.

“We added a location tracking feature” doesn’t inspire. “With the new location tracking feature you will never forget where you parked your car” is something that users are more likely to relate to.

So, in order to write a perfect release note, you need to concentrate on user benefits, add a pinch of humour and finish it with a beautiful call to action. And, if you are “with the words”, you can try and create something similar to what Citymapper did.


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