OMB issues new guidance for websites
- By Mark Rockwell
- Nov 14, 2016
The Office of Management and Budget issued a new policy governing agencies’ public-facing websites to ensure government’s digital assets are more accessible, secure and functional.
Under the 18-point policy, federal agencies must make sure their websites protect privacy and maintain information security while still being accessible from a variety of devices. The data must be open and searchable, and metrics must be reported regularly to the General Services Administration via GSA's DotGov Dashboard.In addition, agencies must establish basic governance of their websites and digital services and treat them as part of their overall mission strategy, not just as "discrete individual IT projects." Agencies also must post those governance plans on their websites under a "Digital Strategy" page.
Furthermore, agencies must keep track of usage data to better understand their users' needs and behaviors and continually test their websites to make sure those needs are being met. As part of that effort, agencies must participate in GSA's Digital Analytics Program and deploy tracking code on all their public-facing websites.
The memo also directs GSA's Office of Government-wide Policy to create a new council of agency web/digital directors within a month to facilitate the new reporting and compliance requirements.
According to the memo’s authors -- OMB Director Shaun Donovan, Howard Shelanski, administrator of OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and U.S. CIO Tony Scott -- the new policy builds on the 2012 Digital Government Strategy and the 2014 Digital Services Playbook for developing effective and user-centric digital services.
The new policy replaces guidance for federal websites that was issued in 2004.
This article was first posted to FCW, a sister site to GCN.
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
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