@David - The comments users have are very important to us (As in the community) - We constantly look at improving the core offering based on user feedback, if we receive no feedback then we don't know how to improve.
It might be worth sketching down in detail the feedback from users, this way we can look to improve the product, "don't suffer in silence", come out in the open and tell us the issues..
One of your developers above has already engaged us around performance, from that we have already highlighted some major areas of concern that can be fixed quite quickly to help your company move forward faster.
I can however help you in the short term address some things you have noted down...
I don't believe that Orchard is a good system to run a large distributed website: I know the size of Bath Spas website, and its not that big and not that distributed at the moment (trust me on this). Orchard
is designed to scale horizontally (i.e. more machines more power) - The indexing system wil; also scale without doing anything. The only thing that current does not scale is the caching - HOWEVER, if you take the tip of Orchard and the Tip of the Caching Module,
You then can integrate with Memcache or Redis or whatever, then you have a distributed caching strategy.
The back-end user interface is not very intuitive: This is something echoed by a number of people. I have suggested above that you can reskin this. maybe with Twitter bootstrap, (Maybe with the WMS system you
wrote :) )
The object-centric templating system is overly complex and may inhibit our ability to re-skin the site quickly: Why would this inhibit the re-skinning of the site? When re-skinning you mainly look at CSS... However,
there are newer modules in the works to address some layout issues, also to allow users to build their own layouts, You Input on this would be awesome.
The taxonomy system is difficult to work with: Is this the taxonomy module? Have you taken a look at Chapters? Also I have sent one of your developers a supped up version of the taxonomy module, hopefully
that should help, but from a UX perspective we would love feedback.
Content menus and breadcrumbs should be generated programatically, not manually: With the new menu system link I sent to one of your developers, you can now generate these automatically using Query links :) -
In-fact the menu system you are using is very old and has ALOT of performance issues - The new version is a million times better.
I hope that helps and please let us know how we can improve the UX/UI feel of Orchard, your feedback is very important.