"Macromedia got lots of negative feedback on the performance of their new home page. Kudos go out to Al Ramadan, the VP of Marketing – for listening to their users and immediately reacting by putting up an alternative design. He even put up an excellent recount of the process and where they’re going. […] That’s all we’ve ever asked – just listen to your customers."
It’s great to see Macromedia acknowledge and address their shortcomings openly.
Update: this claim is strange: "Home pages are the most critical experience, of course, as home pages are where everyone comes first." That’s maybe what they wish would happen, but it’s not the case with properly indexed web sites, where people arrive to in a variety of places. They have thousands of pages indexed in Google, so they probably have at least half their audience landing anywhere but on the home page (this number is much higher for sites that don’t rely on a big brand name and don’t advertise their home page.)
Engaging these "fly-by visitors" to get them to stay beyond the first page they hit (which is usually deep within the site) is a major challenge. I’m currently working on that for SciFan because I have some pages rather low on content that don’t demonstrate very well what the site is about, and only 5% of my visitors visit the home page within their session. Site navigation is passive and won’t pull anyone in, so I’m testing more proactive pitching to retain these users. Many people tell me an exit pop-up would yield good results, but it’s something I’m wary of using.