The strengths of hmg.gov.uk
1. All the important information is easily accessible
In our review, we could find everything we needed within one click - and everything else within two clicks.
2. Use of multimedia content
The site uses video to help make its case and personalises this - there's almost no 'man in suit talking to camera'.
All of the material can be shared using the main social networking tools: Digg, Facebook, Delicious, Reddit and Stumbleupon
4. Content for bloggers
There's a special page of content for bloggers which includes embedable video, case studies, links to external coverage (including challenging coverage) and detailed background information.
5. Pointing the user elsewhere
Rather than re-creating conversations that are already happening (or trying and failing) the website clearly points users to some of the main places where social mobility can be discussed - and these are mostly external sites.
6. The social mobility map
A great way of getting personal stories, easily, that (presumably) feed into the consultation.
The weaknesses of hmg.gov.uk
1. The domain name
It's a shame that the main domains are taken. But hmg.gov.uk does little for search optimisation.
2. Too much content on some pages
In particular http://www.hmg.gov.uk/newopportunities/bloggers.aspx requires a lot of scrolling.
3. No blogger outreach
I've not seen any evidence of blogger outreach, despite having read over 10 blogs reporting the launch of the white paper. It's great having the material but the days of a 'build it and they will come' strategy are dead. You need to push out the content - particularly when it's this good.
4. Page titles
Another missed SEO opportunity.
5. What are the questions?
Presumably the white paper is consulting on social mobility. But this isn't clearly sign-posted from the website. And there's nothing like controversy to interest online users - but it's a bit general on hmg.gov.uk
6. Where are the other debates?
What an incentive to get involved if you could see (and knew that government was going to look at) newspaper comments sections, Facebook groups etc.
7. How do you motivate users?
The site feels as though the government is trying to build support for social mobility. But there aren't any widgets, Facebook groups, petitions or polls to engage readers (although maybe civil service rules permit this).
There may be more weaknesses of hmg.gov.uk than strengths in our list. But that shouldn't detract from what a massive, innovative and brave step forward this is for government and for that, it should receive significant praise.