Engineering teams focus hard on the quality of their release. Writing teams work hard on their documentation. But release notes never seemed to get the same level of attention from either group. Release notes were lists of technical changes, written by and for development teams instead of customers. Sometimes boring, often hard to understand, and full of complex sentences. We used to assume that customers didn't care about release notes, but analytics told us a different story. Release notes were some of our most popular pages. And that meant a good amount of customers were getting an experience that could use a little... livening.
So we researched plain language techniques, cognitive psychology, and even neuroscience to breath new life into an old format. When we made the extra effort to communicate the value and customer impact of new features, in plain language and in multimedia, our customers were happier! We lightened the tone and release notes got more interesting and fun to read. And we appeared in more searches with higher CTRs (click through rates)!