The mainstream trend tracking magazine Newsweek suggested that 2007 will be the year of the widget, at the same instant that Time appoint "You" the person of the year. But widgets is too limited to have its own year; it seems to similar to the year of the locust. Widgets are part of larger data aggregation trend that includes RSS feeds and other information blobs deposited on a Web page. I'm prefer to think of 2007 as the year of the dashboard--or at least a year in which the concept of dashboards catches on in the form of personal Web pages, such as MyYahoo and NetVibes, and corporate portals.
The dashboard concept, which comes from automobile or aircraft instrumentation, works well as term for a customized page or set of pages that includes the critical blocks of dynamic information that you would use as a vehicle to manage your personal and professional lives.
You could have a Google or Yahoo dashboard and a work-related dashboard, and ultimately be able to combine the two in a way that suits your work style and deals with security and privacy issues, and is available and armed with alerts for any device. In addition, as an end user, you would want to create mashups to create new ways to present data. Teqlo is in the early stages of creating a catalog of services and relatively simple tools for mashing up components for dashboards
Dennis Howlett posted about a Compass study that points to problems with corporate dashboards in large organizations, but it could be applied to personal dashboards as well. The study cites to many metrics without clear application (data without context), inaccessible data (can't be piped into dashboard) and insufficient support from management.
2007 may not be the ultimate year of the dashboard, but it's a good time to map out their shape and scope--what data, how to ideally present it based on the specific content, how to interrelate it, how to make it easy to set alerts, how to display it on screens of various sizes and to create your own mashups--basically how to make it simple enough to drive...