US WEB DESIGN SYSTEM TEAM
Dan Williams and Ammie Farraj-Feijoo are being recognized for their creation and management of the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) along with the accompanying maturity model, which is a framework of principles, guidance, and code that federal agencies can use to improve government websites.
In December of 2018, the President signed into law the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA). The law called for agencies to comply with the website standards of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Service. At the time, GSA did not have website standards… but they did have the U.S. Web Design System. Over the next year, Dan and Ammie executed a masterful campaign to develop and publish website standards for the U.S. federal government.
The team collaborated with other agencies via the Federal Web Council, including participating on a Tiger Team to identify areas where agency web teams would need help to implement 21st Century IDEA. They held monthly webinars to answer questions and demonstrate how to adopt and use the USWDS, and contribute back code to make the system work better. They continually incorporated feedback from users of the system (USWDS is developed in the open, to enable stakeholders to actively participate in the development and improvement of the system). They worked with other teams at GSA, including the Office of Customer Experience, the Office of Government-wide Policy, the Office of Strategic Communications, and GSA’s Information Technology (IT) team, to develop and refine the framework for agency adoption.
They developed and published a maturity model for agencies to gauge the maturity of their websites. The maturity model helps agency web teams identify areas for improvement, and provides a practical path for increasing compliance over time with the website standards, through adoption of principles, guidance, and USWDS code. They developed and executed communications campaigns for both internal and external stakeholders, and held several briefings for agency web teams on how to use the USWDS, follow the maturity model, and comply with the standards.
In January 2020, GSA released the website standards. This small but mighty two-person team worked tirelessly for over a year to build solid, sensible, practical, and useful tools and guidance that will have a far-reaching impact across the entire federal government, and across our country. As more and more agencies begin to follow the maturity model, and incorporate the design guidance and code from the USWDS on their websites, Americans will notice a marked improvement in the ease of their online interactions with the federal government.
The majority of customer interactions with the government now happen via websites and digital services. As more agencies adopt the design principles and guidance, and apply user-tested and accessible USWDS code to their websites, customers will see marked improvements in their ability to find information and interact with the federal government online. The USWDS is built to be accessible and inclusive, and easy to use on modern devices such as tablets and phones. The guidance in 21st Century IDEA tasks agencies to modernize their web presence, and the USWDS provides a solid foundation; the accompanying maturity model shows a clear path to enable the federal government to deliver useful, easy, and effective digital information and services—anytime, anywhere, on any device.
SERVICE TO THE CITIZEN AWARD WINNER
IMPLEMENTATION LEAD, 21ST CENTURY IDEA,
U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
USWDS PRODUCT LEAD
U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION