OMB adds metrics to digital experience oversight

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The Office of Management and Budget is piloting new digital experience indicators based on recently released guidance for the 21st Century IDEA Act.

In September, the Office of Management and Budget released long-awaited 21st Century IDEA Act guidance on digital experience with requirements around accessibility, branding content and more. Now, it’s piloting new analytics it says will help it measure and advance progress across agencies over time. 

“This is a living, breathing digital delivery framework,” said Andy Lewandowski, a digital experience advisor to the federal chief information officer, during a panel discussion at an ACT-IAC event on Thursday. “We are going to hold agencies and their delivery teams accountable.”

The forthcoming “digital experience indicators” will be based on that digital experience guidance and its roughly 100 actions and requirements for agencies, he said. 

So far, around 30 indicators can be automatically scanned already, and of those, the office has already begun piloting 20 automated indicators on all websites, digital services and other public-facing digital products, Lewandoski said. OMB is looking to measure things like whether agencies are using the U.S. Web Design System as required, and meeting accessibility requirements. 

Eventually, the indicators will be made public, he said, likely late next year. First, agencies have to work through other requirements including creating inventories of their website and digital services, he said.

Federal CIO Clare Martorana told Nextgov/FCW on the sidelines of the event that “taking [the analytics] in and working with the agencies will allow us then to fine-tune the performance and optimize the performance.” The analytics are meant to serve an oversight function, she said, as opposed to check-the-box style compliance activity.

“The key thing here is optimization,” said Lewandowski. “We can’t manage what we can’t measure, so we need real-time data and insight in order for us to actually allocate the political support and the budget support” appropriately across projects.