Only Connect: How the evolving digital landscape is transforming technical communication

Presented by: Riona MacNamara, Google


Our customers are on a journey – and in this age of Uber, nobody cares about the car: we just want to get from A to B. To support and retain our customers, it’s not enough to create instructional content. Apps and streaming services that give people immediate and free or near-free access to more content than they can use in a lifetime mean that we’re drowning in noise. To retain our customers, 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 within and beyond our organization. 

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. Technological factors – machine learning, data analysis, automation – are driving change – but at least as critical are human factors such as persona frameworks, collaboration and community management, and the importance of inclusive design. 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.

About our Speaker

Riona is a 13-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.