How GSA is remaking USA.gov
The revamped "federal front door" won't be a mere portal—users will be able to complete end-to-end government services on the USA.gov website.
The work to reimagine USA.gov as the virtual "federal front door" to all government services is underway at the General Services Administration, with more details forthcoming this summer.
Under directives in the White House's customer experience executive order issued last winter, GSA is developing a roadmap to make the website into a central gateway to government services, benefits and programs.
Getting that done is going to involve re-doing content on the site, creating new tools and looking at how to offer more actual services on the USA.gov, as opposed to directing people from USA.gov to other websites that actually house whatever service someone is looking for, like filing a tax return or getting a passport.
GSA is aiming to release more information about the new roadmap this summer, said Dave Zvenyach, director of the Technology Transformation Services at the General Services Administration, at an ACT-IAC webinar on April 27.
The hope is that the GSA will incorporate refinements and improvements into that guide over time, he said, and as part of that GSA is looking to work in more feedback loops with partners and the public to inform planning.
One big initiative is incorporating more end-to-end services on the site, or "what we call service completion, which is the ability to actually complete a service directly on USA.gov," said Zvenyach.
"Right now, one of the things that happens is that people go to USA.gov and then we refer people, but it would be ideal, I think … for people to just be able to get stuff done, right there on USA.gov," he continued.
GSA's recent budget request also points to this effort, saying that "TTS envisions reimagining and rebuilding USAGov into a place where the public can complete their entire user-journey, to include facilitating transactions, in one place instead of being simply linked to a secondary Government website."
This "will enable the public to complete their tasks in a single place while increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of government digital services," it continues.
The agency is seeking $15 million in new money to fund this activity in the FY2023 budget, with an eye to repositioning USA.gov to serve as a "governmentwide platform that enables high impact service provider responsibilities" under the CX executive order.
The pitch for agencies is that "in the long run, agencies could rely on USAGov for security of their front-end public facing interfaces enabling them to focus on securing their backend systems," the budget says.
The endeavor is also consistent with the White House's focus on delivering government services in a way that's aligned with how Americans themselves understand and come to government for help, instead of delivering services vis-à-vis the agency or office a given service is situated in.
Americans "shouldn't have to understand … all of the different nuances and different agencies," said Zvenyach. "You can get it done at USA.gov and sort of move on with your day."
GSA is still working through the data privacy and policy considerations for this, he said, "but if we find a good partner to work with, we think that this could have really significant benefits for the public."
Currently, GSA is in the process of replatforming USA.gov and deciding how the agency will restructure its content to be more usable, as well as provide tools and interactive features "that allow [website visitors] to more quickly understand what their needs are," said Zvenyach.
The executive order did instruct GSA to consolidate content that currently lives on benefits.gov, grants.gov and other websites.
This redesign of USA.gov is just one of GSA's lines of effort regarding both the customer experience executive order and aligning customer experience priorities in the President's Management Agenda (PMA), said Zvenyach.
Short-term, the agency is "building" on the products it already has, like Login.gov and USA.gov, said Zvenyach, but it's also playing its role in the larger shift to working across agencies and high-impact service providers to share best practices and find common needs and solutions.
The executive order also instructed GSA to "dedicate multi-disciplinary design and development teams to support priority projects of HISPs."
"As I look at … the work that we do and as it relates to the CX EO and the PMA, a lot of it really comes down to the ability to work across agency boundaries, provide best-of-class technology and best-of-class products and platforms, and really to focus on how we're delivering for the public's need, as opposed to how we're optimizing for our particular agency," said Zvenyach.