Jacob Nielsen' latest alert says that 70% of useability guidelines issued by the US air force in 1986 are still correct and relevant. Couple of interesting stand-outs:
guideline 6.2.1 recommended single sign-on.
You would of thought we would of figured this by now wouldn't ya?! He then goes on to point out that his internal usability measurements (conducted 10 years later) found that login difficulties due to multiple sign-in requirements are the second biggest problem in intranet usability (the biggest being search usability).
Guideline 4.2.6 said to provide a unique identification for each display in a consistent location at the top of the display frame.
I still think this is useful (not to mention it makes life a lot easier for AppConnector), even if Jakob doesn't necessarily agree. I'm thinking along the lines of support here.
When you think about it these finding aren't that surprising for a couple of reasons:
They are guidelines, which by definition tend to be fairly generic
Not much has changed in terms of GUI design over the last 20 years. We pretty much interact with systems the same way.
And as Nielsen points, people are slow to change. Trying to introduce new useability paradigms is an arduous task.