The U.S. Web Design Systems’ (USWDS) maturity model is focused on making it easier for Federal entities to build accessible, mobile-friendly websites for the American public.

Speaking during Carahsoft’s 10th Annual Citizen Experience Seminar today, the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 21st Century IDEA Implementation Lead Ammie Farraj Feijoo and USWDS Product Lead Dan Williams discussed how the maturity model helps meet the digital modernization initiatives of the 21st Century IDEA Act.

“Overall, USWDS helps agencies get more from the teams that design and build their service as a complete system of principles guidance and code, USWDS aligns teams and keeps them on track from the start, and maybe inspires them a bit as well,” Williams said.

Through a common design system, according to Williams, common problems can be solved more quickly with a common language, a common toolkit, and a common starting point. USWDS works to develop and support common design and principles shared across the Federal government. That’s in line with the mission of USWDS and the 21st Century IDEA Act to help improve customer experience.

“Last year, in 2019, there were 14 billion sessions and 38 billion page views on Federal websites. And while there are many stellar government websites that deliver services when it comes to online services, we really do have to do a better job,” Feijoo said. “Customer expectations are being ratcheted up by the private sector and government services should be delivered in ways that the public now demand and expect.”

Under the 21st Century IDEA Act, website modernization for sites and digital services intended for public use must be accessible, consistent, authoritative, searchable, secure, user-centered, customizable, and mobile-friendly.

“In January, we’ve published these website standards to help Federal agencies deliver a great digital experience,” Feijoo said. “Since we released the standard, we’ve experienced a tremendous growth with a 45 percent increase in both the number of community members and the number of agencies using [USWDS].”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.