Senate Passes 21st Century IDEA Act

Capitol Washington DC Federal

As MeriTalk reported earlier this month, the Senate today took action on the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA Act) and passed the legislation under unanimous consent. The bill is now headed to President Trump’s desk for a signature, and he is expected to sign the legislation.

The legislation creates a set of minimum functionality and security standards that all public-facing Federal agency websites and digital services must meet. Under the IDEA Act, all Federal agencies have 180 days to make sure “that any new or redesigned website, web-based form, web-based application, or digital service” conform to eight new standards. Current websites and digital services are given one year to meet the new standards.

The standards require that a website or digital service:

  • is accessible to individuals with disabilities;
  • has a consistent appearance;
  • does not duplicate any legacy websites (the legislation also requires agencies to ensure that legacy websites are regularly reviewed, removed, and consolidated);
  • has a search function;
  • uses an industry standard secure connection;
  • “is designed around user needs with data-driven analysis influencing management and development decisions, using qualitative and quantitative data to determine user goals, needs, and behaviors, and continually test the website, web-based form, web-based application, or digital service to ensure that user needs are addressed;”
  • allows for user customization; and
  • is mobile-friendly.

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