Creating positive user experiences on government platforms doesn’t have to be hard. Users don’t necessarily want fancy websites—they need functional ones. They want to be able to access your website anytime, anywhere, and on any device. We’re not there yet, but I’m optimistic that we’re not far off, and the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) will help speed up the process.
By mandating that federal agencies modernize their digital services, this legislation provides an opportunity for federal organizations to rethink the ways they engage with citizens on and offline—a change that will result in swifter response to public need.
Every agency now has explicit areas of focus to ensure their web properties are accessible to persons with disabilities, readily viewable and available on any desktop and device, and driven by user feedback. There are all kinds of modernization efforts that need to take place to attain these goals, and the path forward could not be clearer. Through the 21st Century IDEA, we now have a definition of what public-facing success looks like.
New standards of performance for government partners
For those of us who regularly work with federal agencies, this means we all need to deliver at this new level—on everything, from here on out. Not only do we need to prepare ourselves to help assist our federal partners comply with this legislation; we must also reassess our operating procedures to ensure all future work is compliant right out of the gate. It also means we need to be vigilant in keeping abreast of the ever-evolving best practices in accessibility/section 508 compliance, user experience design, and digital service optimization.
Although it may seem daunting at first, this is really great news. We believe that a rising tide lifts all ships. U.Group is here and ready to help our government partners achieve their goals and deliver the best experiences to their users—wherever they are, whatever device they are on, and with whatever assistance they may need.
We’ve been doing this for a while. We have the experience of folks who have worked on implementing the United States Web Design System and who have been deeply engaged in human-centered, lean, and agile design and development processes. Our team’s experience puts us in a strong position to help agencies ensure their journey to compliance a smooth one.
U.Group’s products offer custom-tailored solutions
We understand that many agencies currently operate at full capacity, and the tight timeline set by the 21st Century IDEA may place added strain on already busy departments. Tasking implementation partners like U.Group with assessing digital compliance will allow agencies to stay focused on carrying out their day-to-day mission-critical activities with the reassurance that their compliance efforts are in good hands.
U.Group currently has a number of focused products that help agencies get a handle on where they are in terms of 21st Century IDEA compliance. Chief among these products is our IDEA Act Assessment. During this assessment, we evaluate agencies’ digital products for a number of legislation criteria and provide a detailed roadmap toward full compliance.
This allows agencies to have a current state analysis and understand where they need to go from there. Our IDEA Act Assessment is designed to help agencies attain compliance through a single project or through a prioritized need-based approach.
We have additional products that can help make sure those next steps are taken care of, too. These pre-packaged and ready-to-go products are designed to be flexible enough to meet agencies’ unique needs while being structured enough to provide clear value:
- IDEA Act Assessment – As mentioned above, this is a focused assessment that determines the level of compliance of a digital product with the requirements laid out in the 21st Century IDEA legislation.
- Usability Study – A mix of qualitative and quantitative feedback gathered by directly observing potential users interacting with a specific digital product.
- Content Audit – The collection and review of all types of content that may be housed within a digital product that aims to inform a potential future content strategy.
- Mobile Implementation – A quick implementation of a mobile design and implementation to allow a digital product to be viewable across mobile devices.
- 508 Compliance Assessment – Detailed review of how a digital product complies with the requirements laid out in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act with a roadmap of remediation.
- Process Mapping – Collaborative engagement that aims to document and assess major user and business processes that relate to a digital product.
- Heuristic Evaluation – A series of expert reviews that assess the overall design and usability of a digital product using a set of industry best practices.
We know that time is of the essence. That’s why we’ve created these products to help. Let us help you achieve compliance and the recognition your agency deserves for taking a human-centered approach to everything you do—get in touch today!