App update notification and important releases

We’re currently working on update notifications in the app. This feature will show notifications if there are new versions of the app (and the user opts into that feature). The goal is to encourage users to update frequently and make the update process more seamless. The question we’re asking now is: When and how often do we want to notify the user.

In the “Upstream release cadence” post we’ve established that we will release updates every week. Notifying the user every week seems to be a lot so we’re toying with the following idea. The user can choose noisy update notifications and will be notified on every (weekly) release or they can ask to be only notified for “important” releases. If we want to implement this scheme we need to figure out what we consider an “important” release and how we make this decision in the release process.

An alternative approach to solving the noisy update notification would be to only notify users every two or three weeks, say. This would mean that if a new version is released but the user has ignored the update notification one week ago they will not be notified.

Some questions I’d like input on are

  • Would it be ok to notify weekly for every release?
  • Do you prefer “important” releases over the time-based alternative to reduce the noise?
  • Are important releases something that we want to integrate in our release process?
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I don’t mind to be notified every month, but I guess some users would like to be able to change that in the settings.

I’d prefer shipping releases for Linux via regular app store channels, for instance by publishing snap images.

I’d personally prefer to only be notified for security updates and major feature releases. Having to consider updates for a tool weekly is a bit often, though more acceptable for beta/experimental software of course :slight_smile:

Thanks for chiming in @gka. Yes, this would be ideal. At this stage we are looking for a solution that covers all platforms, specifically macOS. We will be improving the distribution of our app in the future which hopefully eliminates the need for update notifications.

Thanks for your input, @vmedea. It’s good to hear that more frequent notifications are ok for you for experimental software. We will be going with this in the beginning. Once our release process has improved we will be considering distinguishing between regular and important releases (i.e. security updates and major features).

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