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 bv applying section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Have a consistent appearance
- Not duplicate any legacy websites
- Contain a search function intended for public use
- Be provided through an industry-standard, secure connection
- 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 common mobile 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.
Finally, the bill includes several reporting requirements that EERE's Web Coordinators may be involved in. You can read the full text of the bill on Congress.gov.
Complying with 21st Century IDEA
Following these standards will ensure you're in compliance with this law:
- Follow our guidelines on Section 508.
- 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. in the websites in the Energy.gov CMS also have a consistent look and feel.
- Archive outdated websites when they are no longer necessary.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.
- Congress.gov: H.R.5759 - 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act
- Powerpedia: 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (Access is 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"