We launched the new website the other day, after many weeks/months of planning and implementing. It's only about half-way to what the Big Vision is for where we wanted to go, but it's still much better than what we had. I've received a lot of feedback (blog comments, IMs, emails, Ouija messages), and every single comment has been extremely positive. It's a well designed, (relatively) well structured site that is an order of magnitude more usable than what we had before.
But we're going to have to step back, due to complaints From Above. Usability and design aside, it's caused a lot of gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, because we weren't 100% faithful to the official style guide. Optics trumps usability and innovation.
I'm not sure if I'm going to get spanked for saying anything public about this. It's just so frustrating, having been a part of a long, exhausting redesign and reimplementation process, only to have users and observers love it (yay! that was the goal) and The Man (ironic, in this case) telling us to knock it off, or else.
In the short term (i.e., for the weekend) we've just tweaked the front page. But it looks like we're going to have to shelve the design, and migrate to the somewhat more limiting official template.
ps. to the spamass that's been hammering my site all day long, PFO, you pathetic leech. this is not the day for that crap.