I've been hanging around NG in one form or another for about ten years. When this latest redesign was revealed I was excited, but I've had a few cents jingling around in my pocket I'd like to share.
First of all, thank you for having such a wide-open door policy on user feedback. It's one of the many things that distinguishes Newgrounds from other game/movie portal sites around the web.
I tend to be hyper critical of creative endeavors, but please know that I only mean to be as constructive as possible and give you the feedback you deserve.
On to your questions:
1) Do you find yourself ignoring the big content showcase box here on the front page? ...
I think the call to action issue you're encountering here is a matter of stimulation overload. You've said it yourself: the new design is pretty, but it's a lot to take in.
To begin with, the entire front page is filled with different types of Featured Content, but other than the separate media everything probably blends together in the eyes of an average user.
The Content Showcase, Featured Content, Promoted Games, Best New Games and Movies, and P-Bot's Picks all serve a similar functions: suggested viewing. They are scattered above and below the fold; there is a lot of friction of navigation.
As for the content showcase specifically, it takes time to load and just isn't worth waiting for when everything else on the page performs a similar action.
2) Have you explored the content genre browsing? ...
I've definitely used the content genre browser, but it still lacks a level specificity. Old games and movies that don't have exceptionally high scores still seem to be lost in the pile.
One answer to this may be a crowd-sourced tagging system moderated by users like the comments sections are. A system like that is asking for abuse, but it might help unearth some old gems.
... The showcase would continue with "Best New Adventure Games", etc. I'm thinking it would better highlight the genre categories and might give people more direct access to stuff they like.
3) Have you been making use of the feed button (the star next to logout) in the header? It lists new submissions by artists you have favorited, something that was only available via email in the past. We intend to merge all favorites into one list of people you follow, so that you can easily add them from their user page and not have to add them in the context of a piece of content. Our current system (where you favorite artists based on content categories) is really old and has some charm but it feels like overkill nowadays.
I rarely even notice the feed button, and it's a tertiary action at best so it takes a lot of effort to use when I can just see what looks interesting on the front page.
4) Have you found yourself doing anything more or less as a result of the new layout?
I still use Newgrounds the way I always have: check the front page for new stuff. If there's no new stuff, leave the site.
Newgrounds is still as easy to get around as it always was (with some added benefits now). I think the new graphic design is really cool looking and I think you all did an awesome job.
I'm just a stickler for frictionless usability. Please take my words with as much salt as you can and keep on doin' how you do.
Thanks again for being so awesome.