Keynote by Riona MacNamara (Google)
"Only Connect: How the evolving digital landscape is transforming technical communication"
In the last ten years, the digital landscape has evolved beyond recognition - and so have the expectations of our customers. Almost nobody buys packaged software any more. Apps and streaming services give people immediate and free or near-free access to more content than they can use in a lifetime. In this age of Uber, nobody cares about the car; they just want to get from A to B. Our customers are on a journey - and to retain them, we need to enable experiences that are seamless, accessible, and personalized. As communicators, we need to move beyond creating content to curating it; to grow our influence beyond our discipline to our broader organizations and, further still, to communities on YouTube, GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Twitch.
The future of our discipline is not about products, it's about people - and to support their journeys, we need to use all the tools at our disposal to understand their needs, their desires, and the environments in which they operate. This talk will focus on the technological factors - machine learning, data analysis, automation - driving change. But we'll also dive into the human factors - persona frameworks, collaboration and community management, and the importance of inclusive design - that are critical to success. It's the combination of these technological and human factors that will transform not only how we support and enable user journeys, but how we drive value is a business that, more than ever, is about connecting people to the experiences that move them.
Riona is a 14-year Google veteran, and a documentation manager in Google Cloud. Previously at Google, she drove Google's open source documentation strategy, led the team that developed Google's internal engineering doc platform used by more than 20,000 projects, and supported Google's Webmaster Tools (now Search Console). Before Google, she was a product manager at Amazon, and spent ten years at Microsoft as an editor on Encarta and mapping products, and a technical writer. She is a frequent speaker on documentation, open source, and diversity and inclusion, and is based in New York City.