The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) requires all government-produced digital products, including websites and applications, to be consistent, modern, and mobile-friendly. Under the law, all new and redesigned websites must:
- Be accessible to individuals with disabilities by applying section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the most current Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- Have a consistent appearance, using the United States Web Design System, to let users know they are interacting with a government website
- Use a government domain name (.gov or .mil) for all public-facing websites
- Not duplicate any legacy websites
- Limit use of unnecessary pop-ups, modals, overlays, etc.
- Contain a search function intended for public use
- Be provided through an industry-standard, secure connection
- Be designed with mobile-friendly experiences in mind
- Be designed around user needs using qualitative and quantitative data-driven analysis that drives management and development decisions and validates user goals, needs, and behaviors
- Be tested continually
- Use web-based forms, web-based applications, or digital services to ensure that user needs are addressed and digital transactions are more efficient and accurate
- Be fully functional and usable on a wide variety of screens and devices.
Web managers are also required to review, consolidate, and eliminate content as necessary, and ensure that all content is in compliance with the website standards of the Technology Transformation Services of the General Services Administration.
It also requires that in-person services, forms, and paper-based services be, to the greatest extent practical, available in a digital format.
On Sept. 22, 2023, the Office of Management and Budget released new guidance for compliance with 21st Century IDEA.
Complying with 21st Century IDEA
Following these standards will ensure you're in compliance with this law:
- Follow our guidelines on Section 508.
- Write content in plain, conversational language.
- Use our template, hosting, graphic, and PDF standards to ensure your website is consistent with other EERE products.
- Use content inventories to identify your existing content and avoid duplication.
- Host your websites in the Energy.gov CMS. The CMS has a built-in search function, and all content is readable on mobile. Websites in the Energy.gov CMS also have a consistent look and feel.
- Design mobile-friendly and device-agnostic websites and digital services, with mobile-first experiences in mind.
- Archive outdated websites when they are no longer necessary.
- Apply user-experience techniques to gather quantitative and qualitative information about your users and their needs.
- Avoid building or maintaining unnecessary mobile apps.
- Delivering a Digital-First Public Experience - Office of Management and Budget updated guidance from Sept. 22, 2023
- FACT SHEET: Building Digital Experiences for the American People
- "Why the American People Deserve a Digital Government" - Office of Management and Budget blog on updated guidance
- H.R.5759: 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act - Congress.gov
- 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act - Digital.gov
- 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act - Powerpedia (Access limited to Department of Energy employees and contractors)
- Nextgov.com: "The Senate passed the 21st Century IDEA Act, giving agencies one year to improve citizens’ digital experiences"