From Frustration to Innovation: How 21st Century IDEA and CX Experts are Reshaping Government Digital Services.

abstract zoomed in view of two employees working on a new website wireframe and color swatches

CX and the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) 

In June 2000, the administration under President Clinton instructed that an official US web portal be launched within 90 days. Three months later, went online under the name We have come a long way since then. Today, 438 agencies and sub-agencies in the US require a web presence. 

In fact, a cursory visit to at the time of writing reveals a figure of more than 5.5 billion visits to participating government websites over a 90-day period. On average there are over 14 billion sessions and 38 billion page views of federal websites during a 3-year period alone. 

This is why the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) exists. Through this act, the Federal government is working to improve the digital experience for government customers and reinforce existing requirements for federal public websites and related digital services. 

The Demands of The Experience Economy 

Many extenuating factors make the 21st-Century IDEA a necessity. Customer expectations, for one, are being ratcheted up by the private sector. This means government services need to be delivered in ways the public now demands and expects – quick, easy, secure, and accessible. For example, customers of many private companies today have the option to receive support in myriad ways, be it by phone, chat, or SMS. Government customers have caught on. They want this, too. It’s no secret that in today’s experience economy, ‘product and price’ have become secondary to ‘experience’ as a competitive differentiator. 

A prescient paper from the late 80’s spells it out. “An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event. Commodities become fungible, goods tangible, services intangible, and experiences memorable.”  

When The Rubber Hits the Road 

Specifically, the act asks all executive branch agencies to modernize their websites; digitize services and forms; accelerate the use of e-signatures; improve customer experience; and standardize and transition to centralized shared services. Furthermore, the Act requires public-facing websites and digital services to use the U.S. Web Design System and meet eight specific requirements. 

  1. Be accessible to individuals with disabilities in accordance with Section 508. 

  1. Have a consistent appearance. 

  1. Avoid overlapping with or duplicating existing websites. 

  1. Contain a search function. 

  1. Support delivery through a secure connection. 

  1. Be designed around user needs with data-driven analysis. 

  1. Provide an option for a more customized digital experience. 

  1. Be functional and usable on mobile devices. 

Getting In On The Act 

Government agencies and CX marketing firms that support these agencies such as Tactis know that when developing a government digital presence, it is no longer enough to simply select a domain name, pick out a template, and make sure there is content. Today’s process involves adherence to several laws, policies, and regulations to ensure that the site and content serve the public. 

Specifically, individuals with disabilities must be able to access and use the website or digital service. Decisions about the web presence need to be based on data and analysis. Content managers must work with subject matter experts to edit content, so it meets user needs and follows digital writing best practices. Websites are to be designed around user needs ensuring they are modern, consistent in appearance, and fully functional on common mobile devices. Web teams must improve the overarching digital experiences through documented internal management processes. Websites and related digital services such as apps must protect user information. Users need to be able to easily search the content using an on-site search function with digital content optimized for search. Users must be able to access content through industry-standard secure connections. Finally, content needs to be reviewed regularly to ensure that it is current, authoritative, unique, and without duplication and that users can easily identify official government websites. 

Tactis and 21st Century IDEA 

Tactis, DC’s leading CX agency, has long been a strong advocate of a better customer experience (CX) for its many Federal clients, and in turn their customers. The 21st-century IDEA is not only a good idea, but an important one. Drawing from numerous Federal engagements over several years, Tactis has the expertise and experience to help federal agencies meet the requirements set out above and implement these requirements.  

In addition, Tactis supports the idea that customer experience and service delivery be fundamentally driven by the ‘voice of the customer,’ and that web design and development be informed through human-centered design methodologies, empirical customer research, and the understanding of behavioral science and user-testing. 

Getting Started 

Tactis’s methodology for modernizing Federal digital services and websites makes getting started easy:  

  1. First, we assess the current state of your agency’s digital presence. This includes identifying your digital properties, digital services, and content. It is important to understand how your agency’s digital presence is currently being used by your customers. 

  1. Next, we set goals for improving your agency’s digital presence. We ensure these are aligned with your overall mission and objectives. They should also be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

  1. Thirdly, we define and develop a roadmap for improving your agency’s digital presence, outlining the steps to achieve your goals. We also identify the resources that are needed to implement the plan. 

  1. We implement the plan which includes making the necessary changes to your agency’s websites, digital services, and content. Monitoring the plan’s progress and course-correcting as needed is also important. 

  1. Finally, we evaluate the results of the plan. This includes measuring the plan’s impact on the agency’s digital presence and customer satisfaction. Identifying areas where the plan can be improved is also important. 

Contact us today to speak with one of our customer experience experts to ensure your agency meets the requirements as set out by the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) and start on the path towards building a stronger human-centered experience.  

About Tactis 

As a full lifecycle customer experience agency working for organizations across all points of communication, combining human touch with digital expertise to create outcomes that matter, Tactis delivers high-touch solutions that span marketing, technology, and human interactions. Through leveraging data and embracing technology, Tactis generates transformational customer experiences that ensure that both Federal government and Commercial entities own the high-expectation, high-attention moments from which truly human experiences can emerge.