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Build usable products

Clean code, consistent components, security, and accessibility are just a few of the considerations that you must address in your development process. Use these USDA guidelines as a starting point as you build and update your digital products.

  • Leverage existing code libraries and assets
  • Create efficient, understandable, maintainable, and reusable code
  • Ensure site search is usable and useful for your visitors
  • Build fast and responsive digital experiences
  • The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act (IDEA) lists requirements (including some outlined here separately) that new and redesigned websites must: 

    Sec. 3(a)

    1. Comply with Section 508 accessibility requirements

    2. Have consistent appearance

    3. Not overlap with or duplicate legacy websites

    4. Have a site search feature

    5. Use industry-standard secure connection (https)

    6. Be designed around user needs based on qualitative and quantitative data

    7. Have an option for a more customized digital experience

    8. Be fully functional on common mobile devices

    Section 3(b)(2)(A)

    • Report to Congress their agency’s most-viewed or most-utilized websites and services


    Sec. 3(e)

    • Comply with U.S. Website Standards (the U.S. Web Design System)

  • Agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information comparable to the access available to others. In 2017, the Access Board updated the 508 Standards and Guidelines with several major changes to provide clarity and keep up with advances in technology and standards. Significantly, the revised standards incorporate the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which require websites to meet Level A and Level AA success criteria.

  • The Connected Government Act requires that all new and redesigned agency websites be mobile-friendly.

Previous: Design and Brand Plays  Next: Development Plays

This page was last updated July 31, 2019.

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The USDA Digital Strategy is being produced iteratively and relies on feedback from you to tell us what content you need to see, as well as what is and isn’t working. To send feedback, email us at