GSA unveils new USA.gov websites
The new versions of USA.gov and USA.Gov en Español come after beta testing by the agency to make the sites more user-friendly.
The General Services Administration debuted newly redesigned websites for USA.gov and USA.Gov en Español on Friday, touting upgrades meant to make the websites more user-friendly following the beta testing of new features for the websites.
The USA.gov websites, one offered in English and one in Spanish, are meant to be the online “front door” to the government where Americans can come to get information on all government benefits and services, regardless of what department or agency offers it.
There were nearly 6 million visits to USA.gov in the last 30 days, according to analytics.usa.gov. The USA.gov program also includes a contact center as well as social media and public engagement programs.
The agency wrote in its fiscal year 2024 budget justification that the beta sites were “a complete overhaul of public-facing content, enable the development of new interactive tools and guides and are built on more secure and modern infrastructure.”
An example of an upgrade available now on the new websites is an improved tool to help individuals look up lists of their elected officials on all levels of government. GSA also found during testing that individuals were able to use it five minutes faster than the previous version, according to the announcement of the new sites.
“These updates reflect our commitment to coupling smart, user-centered designs with robust data to deliver exactly what the American people need,” said GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan in a statement.
Moving forward, the agency said that the team “will continue to evaluate user feedback and data to address gaps, create more interactive features and explore the use of accessible options, such as voice technology.”
Leilani Martínez, acting director of the public experience portfolio at GSA, told FCW in November 2022 that major, long-term goals for the USA.gov program include offering services on the websites themselves instead of sending users to other government agencies to finish the service they were looking for. That’s something former Technology Transformation Services director Dave Zvenyach has also talked about as a goal for USA.gov.
Another goal Marínez discussed at the time was organizing the website around the context or event pushing someone to the government instead of the government’s own bureaucracy.
The new USA.gov website does have a page focused on different circumstances that the Biden-Harris administration has dubbed “life events,” such as having a child. Interagency teams have ongoing work now meant to make government less confusing and burdensome to individuals in those moments.
USA.gov has also been a focus of the White House – it featured in a 2021 executive order that directed GSA to redesign and streamline the website and consolidate vis-a-vis other similar websites like the Labor Department’s Benefits.gov. GSA wrote in its announcement that moving forward, the team “will also continue to work with other agencies to offer a streamlined user experience.”
GSA’s Ann Lewis, director of the Technology Transformation Services, said in a statement that “optimizing [USA.gov and USA.gov en Español] based on how and when the public interacts with government, and iterating on them over time as needs evolve, will deliver an intuitive digital experience for people, providing a more seamless government experience.”