I haven't hung out on Slashdot for many years, so I come to the site with expectations shaped by years of use from the 90s to 2006 or so. The current site isn't too jarring from that point of view. The changes are mostly obvious improvements. Most important for me, the community is still recognizable. The same paranoid ranting and trolling, with occasionally very interesting/insightful/funny and useful contributions from a few posters, whose comments get modded up effectively. I think the motto, "News for Nerds" still applies, and that's comforting. (Although Slashdot seldom breaks a story, by design, it's a great place to get nerdy reactions to the news.)
The new design is familiar looking. It's the sort of thing you'll see on Google+ or many Wordpress blogs.Headlines are bigger. The in-your-face topic drop-down is startling, but effective. Assuming the sidebars are still customizable, I don't have an argument with the esthetics of the design. But it does affect my workflow to a slight degree. When I'm browsing Slashdot, I scan down the headlines until I see something that interests me. I immediately open the link to the original story in a new tab. If the article interests me, I keep the tab open, and click through to the comments in yet another tab. If I don't like the article, I close the tab and go back to scanning headlines. Since the link to the fine article isn't in the headline, the beta site forces me to open the submission just to get to TFA. It's a minor quibble, but I don't like change. (
I'd like to add a couple more notes. First of all, thanks for providing this mechanism and for listening. Despite the paranoid trolls, It's clear you are listening. Also, I can't imagine you aren't eating your own dog food on this one. Trolls that accuse you of this without a shred of evidence are annoying. (They wouldn't be trolls if they didn't try to be annoying. Right.) One more thing, I'm concerned by your statement that you are trying to make the site more accessible to less technical users. Though I totally understand you trying to grow your audience, you still have "News for Nerds" in your title. It's always a challenge to balance a friendly interface with a nerdy "give me information now" sensibility. Without irony, I wish you good luck in your efforts to achieve that.
Kudos on avoiding a certain looney cult's keyword search.
Facebook does what it does. Just say no to liking commercial products.