It’s that time of the year where many of us take stock of last year and start planning for the new year. While many say that resolutions don’t work, I find for myself that writing down changes I want to make or activities I want to focus on helps me move the needle a little further. I find the same approach can help with my efforts for work as well. So here’s where my brain will be focusing for the next year, including some questions I’m asking myself, and you should consider reflecting on, too.
Here’s to jumping into 2023 with nine web resolutions for you and your team to consider.
Resolution 1. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA)
Have you thought about how you might incorporate the DEIA mindset into your web activities? You might consider the imagery on your site, the language you use, how you gather feedback and input, who and how you hire. Check out Integrating Accessibility into Agency Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) Implementation Plans from Section508.gov.
Resolution 2. Accessibility
While accessibility is part of DEIA, it has also been a part of federal web requirements for over 20 years but feels like it is finally (FINALLY!) having a moment. Have you considered using the W3C Accessibility Maturity Model to assess how your organization is doing, and identify some specific areas to focus on?
Resolution 3. Archiving
Different organizations may have differing archiving needs. Have you identified your approach and tools? How are they serving you? Have you thought through how archiving and records management are related but different? Is archiving part of your content lifecycle strategy?
Managing web records properly is essential to effective website operations. Check out the National Archives’ Guidance on Managing Web Records for more information on the steps you must take to ensure trustworthy web records and mitigate the risks associated with operating a federal website.
Resolution 4. User research
Customer service and customer experience are popular topics these days. And user research is fundamental to understanding whether or not what we are creating is serving the needs of the users of our sites and services. Perhaps this year you want to plan to address a specific experience or a specific task. Or perhaps you want to understand a particular type of user better. Perhaps this is an area of your budget that could use a little increase. Or is now the time to look at your user research approach through the lens of DEIA?
- Get started with 18F Methods, a collection of tools to bring human-centered design into your work.
- Use the U.S. Web Design System (USWDS) patterns for common user interactions such as completing complex forms, selecting a language, and creating a profile.
- Visit Together: Inclusive Design Patterns to learn what the USWDS team learned speaking with digital teams throughout the federal government as they work to remove barriers and create inclusive digital experiences for all users.
Resolution 5. Building your digital dream team
Going into a new year is an excellent time to assess what your team was able to accomplish in the past year, and then look forward to what your team can accomplish in the coming year. Is there a gap in skills or knowledge that you want to fill this year in order to accomplish your goals and provide that customer service and customer experience mentioned above?
The Web Manager Community of Practice hosted a webinar on this; check out this recap featuring tips and sample job descriptions.
Resolution 6. Moving up the USWDS maturity model
Have you checked out the USWDS maturity model? Beginning of a new year is a good time to assess where you are and plan for some next steps to continue moving up in the maturity model.
Join the USWDS community to learn more about it.
Resolution 7. Metrics and analytics
How is your metrics and analytics program? Are you focused on upgrading to a new version of your analytics service and making more of the Digital Analytics Program (DAP)? What insights can you take from your data to drive your next steps in improving your site? Who or what might these insights influence?
Resolution 8. Storytelling and communications
Sometimes we leave our own needs for last, but it can be paramount to communicate with organization leadership what the value of the website or service is, and a future vision. Managing a website or being on a web team might mean more networking and communication across the organization than you might have first imagined. Forming relationships and partnerships across an organization can go a long way to help you succeed with the first seven resolutions. Sometimes your biggest critics can become your biggest advocates. This can take a lot of energy but also have a big payoff.
Join one or more communities of practice, including Digital.gov’s Communicators, Multilingual, Plain Language, Social Media, User Experience, Web Analytics, and Web Managers communities.
Resolution 9. Your personal growth, engagement and development
Continued growth and development on the personal level may be last on this list, but without it, it’ll be hard to accomplish all of the above. We hope the communities can help you with your growth, development and engagement. We need all of you for strong, innovative, and change-making communities! If you’ve changed agencies recently, make sure you re-join your favorite Digital.gov communities, starting with my favorite, the Web Managers community. I’m biased!
Also, make sure your colleagues, especially new colleagues, know that they can join, too.