Welcome to LaunchNotes!
We’re super excited you’ve taken a step to improve how you communicate product changes. This article aims to provide an understanding of essential LaunchNotes features. For guidance on setting up LaunchNotes for the first time, reference our Quick start guide.
In this article:
What is LaunchNotes?
LaunchNotes is a communication platform for product teams. Product teams use LaunchNotes to keep their users in the loop on product changes, share roadmap items, and collect feedback. LaunchNotes helps build trust with customers and internal teams by keeping them up to date, closing the loop on requests, and giving customers a place to share their feedback.
When you sign up for LaunchNotes, you get the following:
A dedicated changelog where you can publish your release notes.
A roadmap that you can share with your customers.
The ability for your customers to leave feedback on your product changes, your roadmap items, or submit general feedback about your product/service.
Seamless and segmented Email & Slack notifications to your users so they only receive updates about the things they care about.
Integrations with the tools you already use like Jira and Slack.
Public and private page access
Your LaunchNotes page can be publicly accessible to anyone with an internet connection or it can be restricted to authenticated users for private access.
Public access is great for teams who need a simple solution for telling their customers about product changes and opening up a feedback loop between your product team and your product’s users. By default, when you sign up for LaunchNotes and activate your page, your page will be public.
Private access can be used for internal teams looking to improve communication across departments. As engineering teams ship more code faster, teams across the organization struggle to stay in the loop on what’s changing. LaunchNotes solves that problem by giving organizations a dedicated source of truth for all product changes.
Private access is also great for sharing product updates with a group of VIP customers. Restricting access to these customers gives them a dedicated place to see what your team is working on.
There are two types of roles in LaunchNotes: Admin and Contributor.
Admin: Admin users have full control over the LaunchNotes account, including the ability to invite other users.
Contributor: Contributor users can update the LaunchNotes page and manage subscribers, but they do not have access to the settings section. Contributors cannot update billing information, email settings, page customizations, or invite other users to the account.
Announcements power your ability to notify your users about product changes. They’re used to communicate any change or group of changes that modify the user experience in any way. For example, a major product release, a bug fix, a feature deprecation, or a monthly roundup. Announcements are flexible and can be categorized by type, area of the product, or any other attributes you wish to use.
Categories help you organize and segment your announcements. You can think of categories as labels or tags you apply to each announcement. Typically, categories are used to classify different areas of a product or service that have undergone a change. For example, an API, an admin portal, a notification pipeline, or a website.
You can also use categories to classify the type of change. For example, new feature, improvement, bug fix, deprecated, beta launch.
Categories and notifications
Categories are what power notifications to your LaunchNotes subscribers. For example, if you create an announcement associated with Category A, only subscribers of that category will be notified. If no category is selected for an announcement, no notifications will be sent.
Categories are completely customizable and are meant to give you and your team the flexibility you need to keep your users in the loop about the things they care about.
Drafting and publishing announcements in LaunchNotes is super easy. Our announcement editor allows you to format the content using headings, text styling, hyperlinks, bulleted and numbered lists, code blocks, emojis, media, and more.
Every announcement can have its own unique hero image. A hero image, often referred to as a header image, is a large image at the top of the page. The hero image is effectively the first glimpse the viewer has of your announcement.
LaunchNotes has created a template library available in Figma to help non-designers create high-quality Hero images.
Announcement templates are a great way to build consistency across all of your product change announcements. LaunchNotes includes several industry-proven pre-built templates you can choose from, or you can create your own templates.
LaunchNotes provides analytics for any announcement that has been published. We measure the following:
Visitor analytics: total unique visitors by day
Email analytics: total number of emails sent, open rate, click through rate, click to open rate
Slack analytics: total number of Slack notifications sent
Feedback analytics: total number of ratings received + a breakdown by rating
Roadmaps help you communicate what you’re planning to build, what you’re currently building, what’s already been shipped, and any other “stage” of work you might want to share. A roadmap is a great way to increase transparency and get your customers aligned with your product vision.
Roadmap stages represent the status a project is in. The stages in your roadmap can be completely customized to fit your teams’ workflow and you can have as many stages as you need. Some common roadmap stages are “Planning”, “In Progress”, and “Complete”. You can also use roadmap stages for time-based buckets such as quarterly roadmap planning. Roadmap stages can be re-ordered and updated at any time.
Creating roadmap work items
Adding items to your roadmap is simple. Once you create roadmap items, you can drag them to different stages as your team progresses through the work. Roadmap items can be associated with any of your LaunchNotes categories.
Dates within roadmaps are often a hot topic. LaunchNotes gives you full control over whether or not you want to show the dates on your roadmap, and how you want to show them. We provide these date formatting options:
Do not display
Exact date - May 16, 2020
Fuzzy - This month, next month, March 2022, June 2023
Quarterly - Q2 - 2022
Your users are able to subscribe to individual roadmap items if they wish to receive notifications about those items as work progresses. Roadmap notifications are designed to seamlessly keep your users up to date, reducing a lot of effort from your end.
Your team will have visibility into who is subscribed to each roadmap item, and those subscribers will automatically be updated when an announcement is created that is associated with the roadmap work item they’re subscribed to.
You can choose to display a timeline on each roadmap work item. The timeline is a historical log of changes for a given roadmap work item. For example, the timeline would display the date a roadmap work item was created and the date it transitioned into a new stage such as “completed”. The timeline gives your users more transparency into what’s happening with an individual item.
LaunchNotes provides a way for your customers to leave feedback on your announcements and roadmap items as well as submit general feedback on your product.
Roadmap and Announcement Feedback
When feedback is enabled, your users have the option to submit their overall sentiment (positive, negative, neutral) as well as include a comment on roadmap work items and announcements.
In addition to roadmap and announcement feedback, enabling feedback also turns on the ability for users to submit general feedback about your product. This is done through your main LaunchNotes page.
Ideas & feedback management
Managing the feedback you receive in LaunchNotes is simple, and if you have the Slack integration set up, you’ll get notified as feedback comes in. Feedback can be associated with a roadmap work item, an announcement, or an idea.
Ideas are containers of feedback. If you receive feedback that isn’t related with an existing roadmap work item or announcement, you can associate that feedback with an existing idea or create a new idea to organize the feedback under.
When you receive feedback on roadmap work items and announcements, it automatically gets attached to those items. However, as a LaunchNotes admin, you have the ability to reorganize any piece of feedback and associate it with a different work item, announcement, or idea. Feedback associated with roadmap work items and announcements can be seen in the feedback inbox under the “all” section.
When general feedback is submitted, it lands in the “Needs organizing” part of the inbox. You can think of this as your backlog of feedback. This feedback can be associated with an existing roadmap work item or announcement, or it can be associated to an idea. A new idea can be created on the fly if the appropriate idea doesn’t already exist.
Closing the loop on customer requests and feedback is really difficult without a dedicated system and workflow. LaunchNotes makes this super simple by allowing your users to subscribe to your page. Specifically, your customers can choose to subscribe to individual announcement categories and roadmap items they want to receive updates about.
When someone subscribes to your page they’re prompted to confirm their email address. Once they confirm their email address, they have the option to subscribe via Email or Slack.
Subscribers can then select the categories they want to be updated on, and if you have enabled the roadmap setting, they can browse your roadmap and subscribe to individual work items so they’re updated as your team completes the work.
You can easily import a list of email addresses using our bulk importer (API or file upload). You can also add one-off subscribers.
Depending on which subscription tier you’re on, you’ll have access to customize different parts of LaunchNotes, including the page style, email colors, custom domain, and custom “send from” email addresses.
Customize the page styling and URL
LaunchNotes makes it easy to bring your brand’s look and feel into your page. The easiest way to do this is to upload your company logo and favicon and modify the page colors. For more advanced design tweeks, you can customize the HTML and CSS of your entire LaunchNotes page. You can also set the sub-domain or reach out to our support team for help implementing a custom domain.
Customize the email notifications
You have the option to add a logo and set a primary color for email notifications sent from your LaunchNotes page. If you wish to send email notifications from your own domain, you can connect your email service provider (ESP).
Pop-up and inline embed
Bringing your product updates into other web properties will help increase awareness of the changes you’re shipping. LaunchNotes gives you two options for embedding your announcements: a pop-up embed, and an inline embed. Both are great for amplifying your announcements.
The pop-up embed has the added advantage of giving the viewer an unread indicator, showing them how many updates they haven’t seen. The inline embed is a more straightforward approach for surfacing your recent updates within another webpage.
We’re here to help!
If you have questions about anything we’ve covered here, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.