This Week's IDEA

Meet Your Federal Web Council

Your partners in making 21st Century IDEA happen
Nov 12, 2019

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller

A line drawing of a lightbulb in white, on dark blue background

Welcome to this week’s idea, where we explain one essential topic around 21st Century IDEA and give you the resources and tools to start making focused changes to your digital products.

This week, we’d like to introduce you to the Federal Web Council, your partners in making 21st Century IDEA happen.

When there is something important that needs to be coordinated across the federal web space, the Federal Web Council has been the vehicle for getting those things done. Since it launched in 2004, it has been a forum for high-level cross-agency collaboration, and has helped to develop and shape policies and guidelines for U.S. federal websites, much of which are documented here on

Around 21st Century IDEA, the Council is stepping up again to perform the same role. They’re asking the right questions, identifying and discussing the challenges, and producing recommendations—with the goal of helping others across government take the right steps forward.

Over the summer, the Council worked to better understand how to help federal agencies meet the requirements of 21st Century IDEA. They gathered questions and feedback from the government Web Content Managers Community with the goal of identifying the areas of the law where agencies need more clarification on their responsibilities under the Act. In the coming weeks, we’ll be helping the Council to surface a lot of the findings from their work with you.

Up Next

  • Our series of talks on Agile from 18F’s Alan Atlas and Alan Brouilette have been wildly popular, and give an amazing overview of how to manage a product team that is doing iterative, user-centered product development. The remaining 3 sessions are this week. You can also watch all of the sessions via the links on the event pages.
  • The U.S. Web Design System: November monthly call will be on Thurs, Nov 21, at 2:30 pm, ET. — Register
  • Don’t miss the illustrious Ginny Redish as she talks user experience (UX) and plain language strategies on Weds, Nov 13, 2019 2:00 pm, ET. — Register

Quotes from the field and shout-outs

“Thanks for a great session today. I always leave inspired and hopeful when the federal digital community is brought together."Heather Stern, Digital Director at OPM after a recent in-person workshop at the GSA around the U.S. Web Design System.

Huge shout out to the teams at FEMA and DHS on launching the new and Kids, using the U.S. Web Design System. “These teams did a tremendous job, and are really pushing the envelope here at DHS on how we iterate and design using the USWDS.” — Matt Harmon, Director, Web Communications, DHS.

Have a 21st Century IDEA related comment or question? Or maybe you’d like to shout out some work your team has done? Send it to us by 3 pm ET on Thursdays ( and we’ll work to incorporate it into the next week’s newsletter.