5 Software Release Note Tips and Examples

5 Software Release Note Tips and Examples

‘Software Release Notes’ is an idea generated when people started updating software, and there was a need to document those updates. In the early days, the software release notes were normally read by IT people who manually updated the software.

But nowadays, every user is responsible for updating their software themselves. So, companies have to start paying attention to how they write their software release notes. And now, we’ll be discussing the five best software release notes examples.

What are software release notes?

Before diving into the great software release notes examples, we first need to define what they are.

The documentation created and distributed along with a product this is launching, or a product that is getting an update is ‘software release notes’. This documentation will have a detailed explanation of all the changes and known issues that come with that update. They are generally created for both internal and external use.

Why you should write software release notes

Unlike olden days, users started to pay for the software they use on a regular basis. They anticipate getting updates in the same fashion, And, when you don’t provide those updates, they are ready to move to another product.

Generally, the software release notes act as a kind of direct line of communication between you and your customers. When used effectively, these notes can act as a unique engaging channel to build better relationships with your users. Also, they keep your users excited about the software that you are building.

  • You can set realistic expectations with your users by sharing your release notes regularly. With these release notes, you can easily,
  • Keep your users informed about the feature update
  • Retain your users by fixing certain bugs
  • Let users know that their feedback was heard
  • Notify the changes and improvements in the software

Software release notes which stand out from others

Nowadays, most of the software release notes tend to be uneventful. But your users are more advanced - they are aware that every product update will have,

  • “Bug fixes”
  • “Performance updates”
  • “Stability updates”

Sometimes, writing software release notes can be a daunting task. There can be reconsiderations written only the second before a development team is ready to publish the new version of their application. Thus, many of those release notes are being bored.

Very interesting software release notes tend to stand out from the rest almost all the time. Every user wants to read them even if they are originally intended to be read by the people who updated the software. Those interesting software release notes tend to show some personality and are quite humorous.

Before we dive into the top five software release notes example that works for you, let me share some tips on how to write the release notes followed by an example.

Tips for writing better release notes

Add bullets:

Always try to keep your release notes neat, don’t dump everything in a single paragraph by adding commas in the middle. Instead, add bullets over every point and make it easy for them to scroll and read.

Don’t overpopulate:

Yes, don’t overpopulate your release note by adding all the stuff you’ve been building for a month in a single changelog. But, keep it short, it is advisable to add a changelog once in two weeks recurrence.

Don’t be too formal:

Of course, formal writing will bore the customers. Because usually, formal writings are more elaborative and not straightforward. It may feel users are highly time-consuming and harder to read. SO, using consistent language and avoid being formal.

Always be on user perspective:

Your release notes should be in a way that users love to read, so it explains clearly what users receive from what you’ve done.

Add labels to your release notes:

Yes, adding labels like “New feature,” “Improvement,” “Bug fixes” will help users to know what you’ve come up with in this particular release notes. Also, this makes your changelog more unique. Try this!

Follow the default changelog format:

When you come to see any attractive release notes format, sure you’ll try it for your product. Of course, it’s normal, but keep on changing the format will affect the users to follow up on your release notes. It may be confusing. So try to follow the same pattern.

Here’s an example of release notes from featureOS → Take a look at it here ↗

Take a look at this example,

1. Explaining what the new feature is all about

It explains why they have built the particular feature and what solution it does give to the customers neatly and shortly.

2. Attractive titles for each section

Easy to read changelog will never go out of style, spit the parts and give the cache will tempt users to read more and pay attention. Believe me! It works.

3. Adding releases and fixes as a separate section

As I said, dumping all in a paragraph will make your release notes clumsy. So separate the parts and let users know the bug fixes and improvements you’ve made to the platform.

To see more examples like this, check out our feedback page changelog

Now, grab a coffee, and let’s move to the top five inspirational software release notes example that you might love!

The top 5 software release notes examples

As we perceive what software release notes are important and what makes some of them stand out, let’s take a closer look at the 6 best software release notes examples.

1. Software Release Note (Changelog) of Slack

Slack’s software release notes approach is interesting which is the reason for that being the favorite software releases notes example for many. Their objective is to make the user see the info about their new update, no matter where you hang out. This was achieved by posting updates on all their social channels, writing blog posts, a changelog to the App Store and even utilizing their own in-app update centre.

They always focus on posting on social media like Twitter, about one specific thing that they have updated. They follow a simple theme throughout all of their social media and in-app posts. At the same time, they post longer, more detailed blog posts and changelogs. With these posts, they aim to notify the regular users (via social media), as well as those that are interested in reading more (via blog posts and changelogs).

They use short, sweet, and natural-sounding messages on social media and in the App Store. By which users are updated on the bugs fixed and product improvements constantly. Also, the messages are on-brand and their personality really shines through.

2. Feature and Development roadmap visibility - Teamwork

Teamwork has created a roadmap format for its software release notes. By which, Teamwork’s overall vision for the future of their product is visible to its customer. Which, in turn, lets their user know everything that has been done up to a specific date plus everything that lies ahead.

In their software release notes, they briefly and clearly express the intent of every update and fix. This is because they aim to fit a huge amount of information on a single page. Also, letting users know that they can count on updates in the future. For customers interested in learning more, they link to in-depth blog posts for each update.

3. Webinars with software release notes - Intercom

This is another interesting approach to software release notes. Their approach includes grouping similar new features and improvements into a sort of ‘wrap-up’ announcement. Through which they are able to maximize all the touch points they have with customers by creating a list of all relevant updates.

This wrap-up announcement is in the form of a webinar - which is one of their specialities; almost all of their release notes include a changelog.

The webinar series titled “New in Intercom” occurs on a regular basis and usually lasts under an hour. Even if you miss the webinar you’ll be provided with the recording of the event, if you have registered for it. This will be helpful when you want to reiterate a specific feature that you are interested in.

4. In-depth software release notes - Hubspot

Hubspot focuses on long-form blog posts that highlight major feature releases that could change the way their users use the product. They also post more precise blog posts with step-by-step tutorials on how to use those groundbreaking features. The filters available on the blog allow users to categorize feature updates and only see ones relevant to their work.

These short blog posts (help documents) are also searchable and SEO-friendly which is great to get more marketing value from them in the long run.

5. Creative software release notes - Medium

Medium’s software release notes is an instance of which people have very different opinions due to its creative and off-the-wall style. These notes are clearly an extension of their overall company mission of inspiring creativity in the people who use their platform. Their notes include everything from haiku to ASCII illustrations of a bug.

Despite these release notes being quite funny, not all users are fans. Few users couldn’t actually figure out what the update is about and expressed their dissatisfaction.

In Conclusion

The objective of any software release update is to announce to users the release of the new feature. I hope our release notes examples will help you in creating a magnificent release note for your product.

  • Authors


    Karthik Kamalakannan

    Founder and CEO

  • Published on

    Fri Aug 06 2021 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

  • Time to value: 8 min read

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