The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act and How to Comply
On December 20, 2018, the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) became law. Here are the main things you need to know if you’re part of a government agency providing services to the public.
Who needs to comply? Any executive agency with a website made available to the public, also any internal digital services (i.e. intranet) established after the date of the enactment
The main requirements for websites:
- Accessible to individuals with disabilities (See Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)
- Has a consistent appearance
- Doesn’t overlap or duplicate legacy websites (and where applicable, reviewing and eliminating legacy websites)
- Has user-friendly search functionality for public use
- Uses an industry standard secure connection (in this case, likely HTTPS)
- Designed around user needs and is continually tested to be sure it’s still meeting those needs
- Provides web-based forms, applications, and services to help users complete transactions in an efficient and accurate manner
- Fully functional and usable on mobile devices
- Within 2 years, all forms will need to be digitized
- Within 180 days of the signing (June 18, 2019), the head of each executive agency needs to submit a plan to accelerate the use of electronic signature standards
- Any website created within 180 days of the signing (by June 18, 2019) needs to comply
How do you comply with the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act?
If you charted the goals of this legislation, it would mostly be about user experience (see 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8). The other goals are cleanup (3) and security (5). Not every agency will need the same things when it comes to numbers 1-6.
But when it comes to numbers 7 and 8, there are two things that any government agency will need to implement in order to be compliant:
- Electronic signature solution
- Web-based forms solution
Why web-based forms?
Because you need a solution that can be used on a mobile device or a web browser. The right web-based forms solution should contain the capability to use electronic signatures (more info on how digital signatures work), so to be compliant with 7 and 8, you may only need one solution.
The law also requires that the web-based forms and applications help users complete transactions in an efficient and accurate manner. So that means workflows. That means that information isn’t just taken into the system, but it could also be emailed to the person who filled out the form with a summary of what was submitted, maybe even including an attached PDF, depending on what the form was for.
Webdocs Forms Management has web-based forms, electronic signatures, and workflow capability to help you transform the user experience on your website. Not only can you easily design forms to collect whatever information is necessary, but you can set up workflows to route the forms to the correct people for approval, fill in documents like W-2s with information entered, and once through the routing process, archive the document securely, where you can control permissions for access.
In order to be compliant, you're going to have to create a lot of forms and workflows. Good thing Webdocs Forms Management makes it easy with a simple user interface, drag and drop form and workflow creation, and professional-looking forms (oh, and did we mention digital signature capability?).