The 21st Century IDEA Act was written to help modernize government processes and systems. It addresses several key that have drawn public attention over the last few years. The General Services Administration (GSA) has created a helpful guide for agencies on how to implement the act.


For new government websites, the law requires:

(1) is accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance with section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 794d);

(2) has a consistent appearance;

(3) does not overlap with or duplicate any legacy websites and, if applicable, ensure that legacy websites are regularly reviewed, eliminated, and consolidated;

(4) contains a search function that allows users to easily search content intended for public use;

(5) is provided through an industry standard secure connection;

(6) 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;

(7) provides users of the new or redesigned website, web-based form, web-based application, or digital service with the option for a more customized digital experience that allows users to complete digital transactions in an efficient and accurate manner; and

(8) is fully functional and usable on common mobile devices.

Requirement 2 is further expanded to explicitly mandate the use of the U.S. Web Design System for all websites created after the enactment of the law.

The agency head was also required to create a list of all existing websites and submit a report to Congress detailing the costs and priority for modernizing them.


The law also requires that by 2020 all government forms and services be made available in a digital (and thus, not-paper-based) form. It also requires that any digital forms or services have an in-person or paper-based equivalent for individuals who cannot access digital tools.

Customer Experience (CX)

The act further states that agencies should create a coordinated strategy for Customer Experience, but there are no hard requirements for implementation in the law. However, Executive Order 14058 does direct agencies to include CX into their strategic plans, in alignment with this law.