Release Notes that Get People Excited

How we found ways to turn updates into something people talk about

Brandon Shin
Aug 17, 2016 · 3 min read

A Lot of Release Notes Suck.

A couple things about release notes make them even easier to ignore.

  1. They’re unidirectional
  2. Dry & Technical

There’s always ways to improve a product experience — one thing to note is that experience doesn’t start and end at the product. We knew that there was something that could be done to turn “bug fixes and performance improvements” into something fun and memorable.

Here’s what we did.

1. Shoutouts

A big part of how we were able to rapidly iterate our product was through the help of our amazing Alpha Testing community. Release notes were a unique chance to give our testers credit for their contributions, and to share the part they played in the product.

2. Want Stickers? Read our Release Notes!

We looked for more ways to grow this feeling of appreciation and interaction. Sometimes we tucked in small prizes in the release messages, giving stickers to people that always took the time to read through. This one left users with a fun prize and introduced lighthearted competition to tweet first!

3. Release Notes For Charities!

On our last release, we asked our users to tweet, and we’d personally make a small donation to the first five that tagged us and their favorite charity.

This was our latest and my personal favorite! I loved how it captured who we are and the values that we have as people in the company. We learned about a ton of amazing causes and had fun doing it. So far, I think this has gotten everyone the most excited — from within our company, the winning tweets, the charities, and the communities they serve!

So far release notes have been another unique way to connect with our community at Polymail and we’re always on the lookout for more ways to inject personality and those little things that leave everyone happier.

Let us know about any other release notes you love! You can find me on Twitter @bshins or @PolymailApp!

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around…

Thanks to Varadh Jain and Sydney Liu

Brandon Shin

Written by

Cofounder @ Polymail

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here: https://airtable.com/shrShpeN89HrzCzOB

Brandon Shin

Written by

Cofounder @ Polymail

Startup Grind

Stories, tips, and learnings from and for startups around the world. Welcoming submissions re: startup education, tech trends, product, design, hiring, growth, investing, and more. Interested in submitting? Visit our submission form here: https://airtable.com/shrShpeN89HrzCzOB

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