How to document requirements related to website modernization in contracts
The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (21st Century IDEA) requires all executive branch agencies to:
- modernize their websites
- digitize services and forms
- accelerate use of e-signatures
- improve customer experience
- standardize and transition to centralized shared services
It also requires agencies to comply with website standards to improve federal websites and digital services.
Use the approaches below as a starting point for any solicitations with requirements related to websites and digital services.
Before you get started
21st Century IDEA codifies high-level requirements for federal websites and digital services. Additionally, many agencies have more specific requirements in their digital strategy and other guidelines.
Consult with your agency’s Chief Information Officer and Federal Web Council representative regarding agency requirements for websites and digital services, including 21st Century IDEA.
Then work with your contracting officer (CO) to determine your acquisition strategy, including customizing the draft language below to meet your needs and requirements.
Draft contract language
In new solicitations, you can include requirements for 21st Century IDEA in the performance work statement.
You can ask your CO to amend open solicitations to include requirements for 21st Century IDEA.
Customize the draft language
Work with your CO to customize the draft language for new and open solicitations. For example, instead of “life of the requirement” you may use period of performance, sprint, next refresh, or another time period. Or, you may replace “Performance Work Statement” with “Statement of Objectives,” agency modernization plans, or another source of priorities.
You can use evaluation factors to select the best vendor by evaluating their ability to develop modern websites that meet specific requirements in 21st Century IDEA, including incremental adoption of USWDS.
Customize the evaluation factors
Work with your CO to select the best evaluation factor and customize the draft language. For example, instead of “18 months” you may require a shorter or longer time period.
For the evaluation scenario, you can use it as an “all or nothing” factor (meaning, price is the only other factor evaluated by the government), or it could be pared down and used alongside other evaluation factors, such as past performance, experience, and price.
Provide as many user scenarios as needed to describe your requirements. A user scenario is a method for telling a story about a user’s interaction with your product, service, or website, focusing on the what, how, and why. Check out the user scenarios card in 18F Methods for more information on how to write scenarios.
Accessibility is not only the law, it’s also fundamental to a great digital experience. To ensure your technology is usable by all, regardless of ability, address accessibility and other requirements up-front in all your IT-related contracts and purchases.
You can find sample procurement language in the Accessibility Requirements Tool.
- 18F Methods: A guide to putting human-centered design into practice.
- Accessibility Requirements Tool: A step-by-step guide to help you easily identify relevant accessibility requirements from the Revised 508 Standards, and incorporate them into your procurement and contracting documentation.
- Agile Acquisitions 101: Online webinar that provides a great foundation to begin. Shares lessons learned, success stories, and examples of where agile acquisition has been successfully implemented in the federal government.
- An Agile Software Development Solicitation Guide: How to contract for agile software development services. In this post, the authors show you how to create a complete solicitation in hours, not months, using 18F’s agile contract format.
- Checklist of Requirements for Federal Websites and Digital Services: The relevant laws, policies, and regulations for federal agencies.
- De-risking guide: Provides expert, actionable guidance to the public sector for delivering federally-funded, custom technology projects successfully. Includes a section on deciding what to buy.
- TechFAR Hub: Practical tools and resources for applying industry best practices to digital service acquisitions.