GSA Publishes Updated Version of Federal Website Standards

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The General Services Administration (GSA) has published version 2.0 of its website design standards that are intended to guide Federal agencies to compliance with provisions of the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience (IDEA) Act that became law in 2018.

Anil Cheriyan, Director of Technology Transformation Services at GSA, told reporters on Jan. 22 that the latest version of the website standards is already being used by about 40 Federal agencies for their websites. He said that creating the website design standards as a shared service “is really getting rid of the concept” of each Federal agency having to undertake website modernization on a one-off basis.

Version 2.0 of the website design standards builds on work that GSA has been doing since 2015, he said. The standards were created to be flexible and modular, and to facilitate continuous improvement, in order to allow agencies to build solutions that best meet their missions, Cheriyan said.

The newly published version says Federal agencies should use the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) maturity model to deliver a “great digital experience.” It continues, “Agencies should use the maturity model to adopt USWDS incrementally, and prioritize implementation to align with the priorities identified in their modernization plans” and reports mandated by the IDEA Act.

U.S. Web Design System Product Lead Dan Williams said USWDS is “suitable for anything from fast prototypes to national-scale” projects, and is ideal for coordinating design at scale across multiple teams, multiple products, and multiple locations.

“Using a design system like the U.S. Web Design System is a little bit like following the rules of baseball … No two games are exactly the same, but they’re all recognizably baseball,” Williams said.

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