GSA Progress to Implement the 21st Century IDEA 2020 Annual Report
GSA’s Progress to Implement the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act
2020 Annual Report
Section 3(d) of the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) requires the head of each federal executive branch agency to report annually (through 2023) to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the public on the agency’s progress to implement the requirements of the Act. This report details the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) efforts to modernize our websites and digital services in 2020.
GSA’s Efforts to Date
We are leveraging 21st Century IDEA to streamline our digital footprint and deliver an easy online experience to customers and partners. Building on the work we began in 2019, our focus in 2020 was to strengthen internal digital governance, improve compliance with federal web policies, and reduce our digital footprint.
We stood up a new Digital Council, composed of digital leaders from across GSA, to coordinate with GSA’s Digital Governance Senior Steering Committee (established in 2019) on enterprise-wide web modernization efforts. We also created an internal community of GSA site managers to improve communication and clarify expectations related to 21st Century IDEA.
In early 2020, we identified the current operating costs for GSA’s digital presence and developed modernization plans for all our public-facing websites and digital services. We determined that it would cost over $28 million to fully modernize all GSA sites by 2024 to conform with GSA’s interpretation of 21st Century IDEA, and many site managers will need to request additional funding to perform this work. We also ensured all our sites and digital services are running the Digital Analytics Program (DAP) to gather usage data. We trained GSA employees on accessibility, search engine optimization, and other key focus areas, and continued implementing U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) principles, guidance, and code.
We’ve continued to improve shared digital services such as Cloud.gov, DAP, DotGov, FedRAMP, Login.gov, Search.gov, and USWDS, and increased agency adoption through training, ongoing communications, and improved digital content.
GSA co-led the Customer Experience (CX) Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal working group, and educated staff about requirements in OMB Circular A-11, Section 280. We are developing a centralized library of customer personas and journey maps to ensure teams across GSA that serve similar customer groups are working from a shared customer understanding.
Capacity Building for Communities of Practice
We published a series of articles about 21st Century IDEA to help our colleagues at GSA, and other federal agencies, understand and meet requirements. We instituted informal collaboration sessions (“huddles”) to share insights with agencies and answer their questions. We coordinated with OMB and the Federal Web Council to develop a template for this annual report, and shared the template with the federal web community, to bring consistency across government to agency reporting efforts. We also played a key role in coordinating the federal government’s public communications around COVID-19 response and recovery.
We improved GSA’s website accessibility through greater adoption of the USWDS, and use of automated accessibility scanning tools and manual conformance verification. We trained federal agencies to improve accessibility through webinars, training classes, and guidance published on Section508.gov. We published the ICT Accessibility Testing Baseline, which was adopted as a best practice by the Federal CIO Council’s Accessibility Community of Practice (ACOP).
Digitaldashboard.gov is a government-only site that reports on key metrics for conformance and compliance with a range of IT standards and requirements, including mobile usability and performance, accessibility, security (HTTPS), and analytics. It uses automated scanning, open source technology, and industry standard measurement tools to scan thousands of public-facing .gov websites. We are developing a 21st Century IDEA module, which will be available in early 2021, for agencies to measure their own compliance with the law.
We decommissioned around a dozen small websites and migrated useful content to larger, higher-traffic sites, streamlining management and back-end operational costs in the process. We also began a pilot project to significantly streamline and improve the technology content on GSA.gov and will use this work as a model to streamline the rest of the site in the coming years.
A Snapshot of Streamlining Efforts
- Saving Money by Consolidating Content - We retired GovSales.gov and reworked the content into the Auctions and Sales page on USA.gov. Working across organizational silos and retiring GovSales.gov saved $592,788 in cost avoidance over 4 years. USA.gov will continue to make it easier for the public to find and buy surplus and seized federal property.
- Access to Real Property Data - To address a recommendation from GAO (GAO 20-135), we created a central source for all of GSA’s publicly available real property data to enable clients and stakeholders to easily find this info in one place instead of having to search through multiple websites.
- Contract Data Reports - We migrated Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) reporting functionality to beta.SAM.gov and developed training videos, reference guides, and FAQs to help ensure a smooth transition for users.
- GSA Advantage and eBuy Tech Refresh - We improved GSA Advantage! and eBuy, with mobile-friendly designs that are simpler to navigate, and aligned with the USWDS, helping customers more easily find the products they need.
Digitization of Forms
As required in Section 4(d), we have digitized all paper-based forms related to serving the public. Our forms are published in our GSA Forms Library.
In 2020 we strengthened internal digital governance, streamlined content, and began modernization efforts in earnest, but this work is just beginning. In the coming years, we will continue to streamline our websites, reduce our digital footprint, and improve how we manage online service delivery to customers. We plan to request funding to support this work.
/s/ Emily Murphy
Administrator, General Services Administration