We've seen a lot of action in the 'personalized start page' space on the consumer side, but relatively little development in business web 'start pages'. Salesforce.com has an interesting feature in its upcoming Winter '07 release that may change that. Called the Business Web Desktop, it's basically an Ajax-powered web homepage for Salesforce apps.
The applications accessible on Business Web Desktop will include: activities, opportunities, leads, campaigns, other objects (including custom objects). The idea of this "customized desktop" is to provide all the information business people need on a single screen. The user interface relies heavily on a dynamic Ajax interface. Other features include multiple panes, data refresh in each pane occurring when data changes, and dynamic lists that expand as the user mouses over them.
Because this is for enterprise, there is a certain amount of control maintained by the IT dept. Admins will configure the page layouts and mini page layouts and assign users to profiles and record types. Users can however set up their own list views.
There has been some discussion on whether this Business Web Desktop will replace the salesforce.com "home tab" in the service. That won't happen in the Winter '07 release, but possibly in future:
"In the Winter release, we will be adding the Console as a separate Tab, it will not replace the Home tab, but that has been discussed."
We've written before about 'personalized start pages' being a great option for company dashboards or even intranet homepages. So good to see this is turning into reality, care of Salesforce.com. Winter '07 is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter. Here are some initial screenshots - a bit blurry, but they are the only ones currently available...