There are several Websites that I really respect on the Internet, one of them is Channel 9.
Channel 9 is a Microsoft website that is run by some of the developer/evangelist (Robert Scoble, Jeff Sands et Al [sorry if I missed anyone else out]) guys over there to let the Developer Community know what is going on in Microsoft. Over the past year, I have been watching their videos (Most of them are excellent), just to see what happens there and what runs through their heads.
I must say, Microsoft seems like an excellent place to work, a lot of creativity and some great minds work there.
Anyway, to get back on track; Channel 9 has had a major overhaul to the UI and I must say that it looks sweet. They have removed their Blog style vertical list of entries and replaced it with a much nicer "Most Recent" section, therefore a lot of the important content is on one screens worth of space, rather than about 9 screens worth of vertical real-estate. I have been touting with this idea on my site, but the feedback I have had is that most people like the "traditional" blog style.
The comment section, looks pretty funky. There is a lot going on on the page, but the design is a design that I like. One of the things I think is pretty cool, is the box with something popping out of it. [see the pics]. I don't know why I like it, maybe it appears they are not constrained by HTML tables and stuff, they are breaking out of it or something. I don't know what it is but I have always thought it looks pretty darn cool! [NOTE: I think this is an artifact from the fact that my screen is so small and the content of IE7 gets squashed]
They have also included a Tagging section, which list the most popular Topics that people are talking about. Ala Technorati (Which still doesn't consistently index my site). I really like this, even though it harks back to the old Yahoo style directory of topics system. It's an Idea that I think if used correctly can be a really cool and extra value added feature. I can see what people are talking about and what topics interest people. It kind of helps me, because, I know that I can determine if something I talk about will be interesting to people.
My General opinion of the new design is a BIG THUMBS UP. I really like what they have done. Well done guys.
Even if you don't like the design, I would still recommend the content of the site, it is truly amazing!