Frank Konkel | Nextgov | May 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

Bill Would Mandate Mobile-Friendly Federal Websites

Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill Flickr user Science Democrats

Legislation introduced into the House of Representatives last week would require all new and redesigned federal websites be mobile friendly.

Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill, the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, authored the Connect to Government Act.

Kelly said districts like hers, which includes parts of urban Chicago and rural Illinois farming communities, suffer from patchy broadband. They are severely impacted by the federal government’s poorly designed websites, 40 percent of which are not mobile friendly, according to a recent study by tech-focused think tank Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Citing research from Pew that states 10 percent of Americans are mobile-only internet users, Kelly said federal websites are woefully out of date and failing to connect with citizens in the same ways innovative private-sector companies do.

“In 2017, it’s unreasonable that one in 10 Americans cannot connect with their government because they only use mobile devices,” Kelly said in a statement. “This bill is a common-sense fix that brings government websites into the 21st century. No business or organization would build a website without mobile optimization, why should the government?”

Federal websites routinely come under scrutiny.

ITIF’s study sampled 300 federal websites and found 36 percent passed a speed test for loading websites on mobile devices. In total, more than 90 percent of websites failed at least one standard for mobile friendliness, loading time, security or ease of use for people with disabilities. 

If enacted, Kelly’s legislation would codify existing Office of Management and Budget policy developed by the Obama administration. Yet, most agencies have only been spurred to optimize their websites when a critical need arises. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, for example, recently optimized its website for mobile users after the agency realized many potential immigrants were viewing website content from mobile devices and tablets, not desktop computers.

Kelly’s co-sponsor for the bill is Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., and a spokesperson told Nextgov she’s hopeful the legislation will earn bipartisan support from tech-savvy Republicans. Kelly was one of many Democrats who supported IT modernization legislation authored by Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas, that will soon come to the House floor.

Comments
JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.