Adobe CEO urges snazzier .gov sites, boost in U.S. e-government

Feds have come a long way in making more information digital, but a few lingering absurdities, as he puts it, have been irking Adobe Systems chief Bruce Chizen.

WASHINGTON--The feds have come a long way in making more information digital, but a few lingering absurdities, as he puts it, have been irking Adobe Systems chief Bruce Chizen.

Just look at the Internal Revenue Service, which allows taxpayers to download and print out forms but still can't accept them electronically without help from a third party, the CEO of the firm behind the ubiquitous Portable Document Format (PDF) said Wednesday.

"It doesn't make any sense," he lamented during a luncheon discussion at a conference here hosted by the Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus, a bicameral, bipartisan group of politicians.

More generally, it's baffling that the government has poured millions of dollars into back-end infrastructure but hasn't yet matched up its front-end business processes. The state of affairs leaves some bureaucrats in situations where "someone takes the information from paper and puts it back into the computer," Chizen said, when that process would ideally be seamless.

And while they're at it, he added, the feds should really make their Web sites prettier. (A thinly veiled plug for Adobe's well-known suite of graphics software, perhaps?)

"We're all living in a YouTube society, and everyone's expectations of what the Web experience needs to be has gone up significantly," Chizen said. "Not that I expect every government Web site to be entertaining, but it needs to be engaging, it needs to be graphically stimulating."

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About the author

    Anne Broache
    covers Capitol Hill goings-on and technology policy from Washington, D.C.
     

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