Today saw the publication of ‘Building Britain’s Future‘, a wide-ranging document covering the Government’s approach to economic recovery and much else besides.
Rather lower profile was the supporting website, which is a fair crack at how we might present big policy documents online. To me, this is one of the big challenges in digital engagement right now: we have a fair number of tool options for consultations, and are getting better at applying the ‘classic’ social media tools of Twitter, YouTube and Flickr – but the practicalities and small-p politics of presenting large documents in anything more than a downloadable PDF are still daunting. Like Digital Britain or New Opportunities, BBF is not (primarily) a consultation, so has to struggle with the thorny question of what to do with feedback and whether to solicit it at all.
There’s lots to like about the BBF site, ably put together – I believe – by the Cabinet Office web team. The design is clean and fresh, it breaks the introductory text down into bite-size chunks and illustrates the content with a lot of fresh video content and case studies with comments enabled. There’s a Twitter account, a live stream of the PM’s launch speech, a blog and a Google-maps powered overview of the follow-up ministerial roadshows. It looks like it’s hosted on the Cabinet Office Umbraco CMS installation and the blogs use the BlogEngine.NET platform used by DirDigEng – both open source tools which show .NET can be low-cost and agile too. Interestingly, the team didn’t try and publish the whole document in HTML, which I think was a good call. If you want the delivery roadmap, you’ll download the PDF.