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GSA Publishes Standards for Building Federal Websites and Digital Services

| Dan Williams, Ammie Farraj Feijoo, Jeremy Zilar, and Jacob Parcell
Post filed in: Technology Transformation Services

Today, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) published website standards to help federal agencies deliver a great digital experience. Section 3(e) of the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, otherwise known as 21st Century IDEA, requires agencies to comply with the website standards created by the Federal Acquisition Service’s Technology Transformation Services:

21st Century IDEA (Public Law Number 115-336 §3(e)).
Compliance With United States Website Standards.
—Any website of an executive agency that is made available to the public after the date of enactment of this Act shall be in compliance with the website standards of the Technology Transformation Services of the General Services Administration.

shots of computer screens

21st Century IDEA was signed into law in December 2018. The Act aims to improve the digital experience for government customers and reinforces existing requirements for federal public websites.

For two decades, GSA has led the federal web community by providing the tools and guidance they need to deliver effective and accessible digital services. Today, GSA continued this tradition by publishing the website standards at

GSA recognizes the importance of improving the lives of the public and public servants, and provides the U.S. Web Design System as a free, open-source toolkit of principles, guidance, and code that makes it easier for agency digital teams to build accessible, mobile-friendly government websites for the American public.

Flexibility is coded into the design system’s DNA. The U.S. Web Design System encourages incremental adoption by agencies through its maturity model. The maturity model provides a practical path for agencies to build solutions that best meet their missions and needs, and to adapt the U.S. Web Design System as they adopt it. It also facilitates continuous improvement—not just one-off, all-or-nothing redesigns.

The design principles at the center of the U.S. Web Design System provide teams in government with a guiding light for making design and technical decisions. They are:

  • Start with real user needs: Real user needs should inform product decisions.
  • Earn trust: Trust has to be earned every time.
  • Embrace accessibility: Accessibility affects everybody; build it into every decision.
  • Promote continuity: Minimize disruption and provide a consistent experience: throughout services, over time, and across agencies, platforms, and devices.
  • Listen: Evaluate and improve your product by listening to your audience and learning from what you hear.

As public servants, it’s our job to provide authoritative, high-quality information that’s easy for everyone to find, understand, and use. We must also continually evolve and adopt new technologies to deliver on the public’s ever-increasing expectations for easy, effective government services.

Transformation is a process. GSA is committed to working together with agencies to improve federal websites and digital services.

Visit the to learn more about the U.S. Web Design System and the website standards, or join the community and connect with others in government who are adopting the design system.

Follow’s This Week’s IDEA series to learn more about 21st Century IDEA and how government teams are building digital products.