Feature releases are the highlights of our day! After a lot of time and effort, a feature has evolved from an idea or client request to something tangible. It might have already convinced us of its value, but we still need to get you and our other clients on board. The quicker everyone can start benefiting from it, the better! Since it is so important to get the word out about new features, we have an entire process for writing content and communicating the changes to you.
Where it all begins ...
Each development team has a dedicated implementation consultant
Writing content and announcements for new features starts as soon as the developers start building. Each development team has a dedicated implementation consultant who is responsible for all the content and communication related to the new feature. The consultant joins the feature planning and receives demos from the developers as they build. One benefit of this approach is that the person who writes the content is knowledgeable about all of its ins and outs. This helps them write accurate articles. Another benefit is that they can have the content and communication ready as soon as the feature is released. As a side note, we also like that it fosters cross-discipline communication. But we can save that for a separate discussion 😉.
Our feature release checklist
The dedicated consultant will go through the following list and determine which tasks they need to complete:
1. Write a new help article
Not all features require a new help article. If it does require an article, an implementation consultant will make a draft in our Help Center. Once the English draft is ready, our QA/QC Officer, Caroline, will review it. She will make sure the article adheres to our style guide and technical writing best practices.
Even seemingly small changes can mean that we need to update screenshots across multiple articles
2. Update existing help articles
Usually, a new feature will require updates to existing help articles. First, the consultant will need to identify a list of articles the new feature will affect. If the feature adds to a previous one, they will add a section about it. Other times the consultant will only need to add a link to the new help article from an existing one, or update a screenshot. Even seemingly small changes, such as a change in color or label, can mean that we need to update screenshots across multiple articles. Since we have started a multi-language Help Center, we repeat all updates for all languages. This is a great opportunity to improve the entire article and leave it better than it was found.
3. Add to the What’s new? page
Our What’s new? page is a catalog of changes and new features that are relevant to clients. Check it out to see all our cool new stuff 😉. On average, we do two releases a day. So, we usually limit what we add here to valuable features. For example, we do not add bug fixes or general maintenance.
4. User messages
First, the consultant will determine whether the new feature needs an announcement. If required, the announcement can either be a direct email or an in-product message. Either way, these announcements should answer the following questions:
- Who does the new feature affect (admins or participants)?
- What is the new feature, or what has changed?
- Where can I find the feature?
- When was it/will it be released?
- Why is it useful?
- How can you use it? Where is a relevant help article?
We typically send emails in two situations. Firstly, if a feature will have a large impact on the system, we will email all clients it will impact. Often, we will communicate about this type of change before and at the time of the release. Secondly, we will send an email to everyone who sent in a feature request about the new feature.
We don't want to overwhelm you with messages
The consultant must take a few considerations into account for in-product announcements. We want you to know about all of our relevant, new features. But we also don’t want to overwhelm you with messages or have them get lost. To prevent this, the consultant will first consider where it should be sent. The ideal place could be, for example, on the page where the change has been made. For instance, you would receive a notification about selecting a custom font from the Styling tab.
5. Add links to the in-product help resources
If a feature requires a new help article, the consultant will need to add it as a link behind the in-product help icon. Don’t know what that is? You can find it on the upper right-hand side of your admin dashboard 👀.
After we complete this checklist, we hope that you will try the new feature. Although it might have just been released, we are still open to improving it. Feel free to tell us your thoughts about it! In time, maybe you will even come to view the new feature as an integral part of your Easy LMS workflow (as is our hope).
Check out all of our current features.