How to keep a changelog?

Documenting a journey is exciting. Just like you have your images from childhood as memories, here is a changelog just like an album that documents the journey of your product. It reflects how your product has evolved since its existence.

Changelogs have various other benefits such as improving customer engagement, building credibility, increasing new feature adoption, etc. that makes it essential for you to maintain changelogs.  

After knowing why it’s important to maintain changelogs, you may wonder what a changelog is and how you can keep a changelog. So let’s together find out the answers to all your queries.

Questions that we’ll be answering here:

  • What is a Changelog?
  • How to keep a Changelog?
  • What is the purpose of keeping a Changelog?
  • How to maximize value from Changelog?
  • Examples of a few Changelog pages
  • How can Olvy help you in keeping the changelog?

So, let's make a jump into the depth of information.

What is a changelog?

A changelog is a file that contains a list of the modifications you've chronologically made to your product. It's usually structured by version, with the date at the top, and a list of new, upgraded, and removed features underneath.

According to sources, a changelog is a log or record of all significant changes made to a product such as a website or software. The changelog is used to keep track of things like bug fixes and new features.

How to keep a changelog?

Generally, there are two approaches to keep a changelog:

  • the traditional method: create a text file and list down all of your modifications with a certain date
  • the developer method: generate changelog automatically based on your commit messages.

Creating a changelog requires a lot of time and energy. No fixed criteria are followed to keep a changelog, rather here are a few things to keep in mind while keeping or maintaining a changelog.

  • Changelogs should be easy to read and understand for people with basic tech knowledge. As all your customers might not be able to understand the technical terms, use simplified and self-explanatory terms in your changelog.
  • Keep a separate section for each update so that your customers won’t miss out on important updates.
  • To simplify it for your customers, group similar changes together as it's easy to overlook an outdated feature in the center of a bunch of fixed ones.
  • Eliminates the need for googling by including links and ensuring that everyone is up-to-date on version updates.
  • Place the newest version at the top of the page.
  • Keep the record of release dates to help people identify the latest versions.
  • While keeping a changelog, categorize the changes into a few standard categories, such as:

    Added, if new features are added
    Changed, if changes are made to existing functions
    Outdated, if any feature is outdated
    Removed, if any feature is removed
    Fixed, if any bug is fixed
    Security for vulnerabilities

What is the purpose of keeping a Changelog?

Keeping a changelog is important for various reasons but here are 5 of the most significant ones.

Ascertain that all team members are on the same level

While working with multiple individuals, it’s common to miss out on important updates by a few individuals. If the team itself won’t be aware of the recent updates, then how can they cater to customer needs. Therefore keeping a changelog is beneficial as it will help the team to look at the current updated version of the product and stay updated.

Troubleshooting bugs

No matter how much you avoid bugs, they occur from time to time. It's essential to troubleshoot bugs whenever it arises as it affects customer experience or might create dissatisfaction among customers. If you keep a changelog, you can have a look at the latest updates or releases that help in troubleshooting bugs.

Useful Information for insights

A well-maintained changelog has a  list of all the changes made to the project in chronological order. So, it acts as a good source of information for insights and analytics that help you make changes accordingly. Using these pieces of information, you can develop plans for your site or software based on your customer needs and interests.

Inform and educate customers

Changelogs help to inform and educate customers about the changes or developments made in the product. This will make them feel valued and enhance the user experience.

Immediate response to customer queries

It’s difficult to remember everything about the previous work when you get on to new projects. Keeping a changelog will help you resolve customer issues and cater to customer needs immediately as you can look up past works or changes through the changelog.

How to maximize value from Changelog?

Maintaining a changelog is a commonly overlooked method of increasing user engagement and retention. It can help show customers that you are constantly developing and introducing cutting-edge features.

Keeping a changelog can encourage customers to try new features that can maximize value from the changelog.

Here are 5 ways that you can use to get the most value out of your changelogs.

Enhance Visibility

Sharing new features and updates via newsletters or blogs might not get noticed by customers. Maintaining a changelog will enhance visibility as it will separately pop up to your customers’ screens. It will also help customers to look at the past updates whenever they wish to. So, keep prominent and easy to access changelogs to enhance visibility among customers.  

Automatically Update changes

Changelogs are more helpful if they are updated regularly. Manually keeping changelogs might be a hectic task so set up systems that can automatically update changes in the changelog. Olvy can help you with creating changelogs without going into the hectic process.

Visual Components

Reading a text is boring and when it comes to technical updates it becomes even more boring. So, it is advised to add visual components explaining the new features and changes to your changelog. Create well-organized changelogs, highlight most impactful changes, separate bug fixes, and use bullet points to improve changelog readability.

Interact with Customers

Involving customers in your product development process can help you enhance relations with them. Listing the already made changes in the changelog is good but it’s great to interact with customers when the work is under process. So, keep updating the changelog about the things that are about to come. This will increase customer interest in your product as they will be curious and feel valued throughout the process.

Add CTA to the changelog

Adding a CTA to the changelog can give you direction in planning your further step. When customers will take actions based on the CTA, you will have access to data that will give you valuable insight into your update. For instance, you have listed changes that you made in the latest version of your product and have added CTA let’s sat “Try Now”. If maximum customers will click on that CTA, this implies that the feature is liked by most of your customers. Then you can bring similar things in the future to help your customers solve their problems and satisfy them.  

Examples of a few Changelog pages

Here are examples of companies that maintain changelog to boost their customer engagement, new feature acquisition, fixing bugs, and many more things.

Vercel

Vercel has a separate changelog page on their website. As you can see in the image, all the changes on the site are listed chronologically on the changelog page.    

Source: https://www.changelogs.gallery/vercel-changelog/

The company has tried to improve readability by using bullet points and highlighting important features that can grab customers’ attention.

Source: https://vercel.com/changelog
Source: https://vercel.com/changelog

CodeSandbox

Another example of the Changelog page is of CodeSandbox. The company has used a different and attractive UX design. It has used the term What’s New at the beginning that generates curiosity among its users.

Source: https://www.changelogs.gallery/codesandbox/

The changelog page of CodeSandbox has the latest version listed on the top along with an attractive image visual as seen in the image.

Source: https://codesandbox.io/changelog

How can Olvy help you in keeping the changelog?

Creating a changelog using codes and engineering can be hectic and time-consuming. Olvy can help you in eliminating that lethargic process by creating and maintaining a changelog using tools.

The simplest thing that you need to do is sign in to Olvy and simplify your tasks by using various features.

Update your product to cater to your customers' needs by working on their feedback. Satisfy your customers by providing satisfactory services which will result in growing your business. Let’s join hands to grow together.

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Arnob Mukherjee

Arnob Mukherjee

Building Olvy
Bangalore, India