It can be overwhelming when you first go to Ravelry, but remember nothing is going to happen if you click something.
I use it for searching yarns..what other people say about it, what projects were made with it, what a colorway might look like.
I use it for pattern searching and because you can filter by yarn weight, pattern type, gauge, needle size, etc you can get closer to the type you are looking for. Some are misfiled of course, but the majority are fine.
Everyday I check the recent patterns by clicking the pattern tab then scrolling down to recent and clicking. If I like it I add it to my favorites or sometimes I'll buy if it really grabs me. :lol:
When I find a pattern I like I click on yarn ideas to see what yarn others have used, projects, comments, etc.
I much prefer the close community we have here for social chatting, questions, etc, but their groups are good for specific topics.
And personally, I keep my projects there as well. It's a great way to keep track of your notes for the project, including your needle size, yarn used, colorway, etc. If someone asks what needle size or yarn I used I can just go look.