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normative, informative, conformance, and requirements (was Re: [heads-up] updated Editor Draft of WCAG-EM being finalized)

From: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 22 Aug 2012 14:17:59 +0200
Message-ID: <5034CDF7.5090800@w3.org>
To: Eval TF <public-wai-evaltf@w3.org>
Dear Eval TF,

As some of you have noted, WCAG WG has some concerns about the language 
used in WCAG-EM that makes it sound more normative than informative.

WCAG-EM is developed as a supporting document for WCAG 2.0 in the form 
of a W3C Working Group Note (as opposed to a W3C Recommendation, which 
is what WCAG 2.0 is). By definition, this makes WCAG-EM an informative 
document according the W3C Process.

It is unusual for such type of documents to define requirements and a 
conformance model, as this is typically what normative documents do. 
There was also discussion about the word "conformance" to be ambiguous 
in WCAG-EM because it is used in the context of conformance with WCAG 
and conformance with the methodology.

Our intent with defining requirements and conformance is to set the 
provisions that a conformance evaluation *procedure* must adhere to, 
rather than to prescribe an exclusive approach for evaluation.

Besides clarifying some of the wording in the scope and conformance 
sections of the methodology, can people think of other approaches to 
address the intent while avoiding language that seems too normative?

For example, should we try some terms other than "requirements" and 
"conformance" (as we've done with "accessibility statements" rather than 
"conformance claims")? Are there simple adjustments that we could make 
and that would alleviate some of the concerns without softening the 
language too much?

Thoughts welcome.


On 17.8.2012 14:11, Vivienne CONWAY wrote:
> HI all
>>From reading the response from the WCAG WG, it seems they would like us to really soften the language.
> My understanding was that this document was to propose a methodology for assessing entire websites - they seem to be questioning this approach, did I read it wrongly?
> IMHO we wanted to make the methodology the standard that would be used internationally to assess entire websites, not merely as one of the many possible.  I know of course, that it won't be the only one in existence, far from it.  However as it is being produced under the leadership of the W3C for conformance to WCAG, shouldn't it be seen as more normative than informative?
> Forgive my rambling thoughts, just trying to understand the gist of their comments, which I'm sure are carefully made.
> Regards
> Vivienne L. Conway, B.IT(Hons), MACS CT, AALIA(cs)
> PhD Candidate & Sessional Lecturer, Edith Cowan University, Perth, W.A.
> Director, Web Key IT Pty Ltd.
> v.conway@ecu.edu.au
> v.conway@webkeyit.com
> Mob: 0415 383 673
> This email is confidential and intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is strictly prohibited. If you have received this email in error, please notify me immediately by return email or telephone and destroy the original message.
> ________________________________________
> From: Shadi Abou-Zahra [shadi@w3.org]
> Sent: Friday, 17 August 2012 2:41 PM
> To: Eval TF
> Subject: Fwd: Re: [heads-up] updated Editor Draft of WCAG-EM being finalized
> Dear Eval TF,
> Please find below the feedback from WCAG WG on our current Editor Draft.
> Eric and I will be processing these and make suggestions.
> Thoughts and comments on this feedback is welcome.
> Best,
>     Shadi
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Re: [heads-up] updated Editor Draft of WCAG-EM being finalized
> Resent-Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 21:51:58 +0000
> Resent-From: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
> Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2012 14:51:28 -0700
> From: Loretta Guarino Reid <lorettaguarino@google.com>
> To: Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org>, Eric Velleman <E.Velleman@bartimeus.nl>
> CC: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
> Shadi and Eric,
> The WCAG WG feedback on the current draft can be found at :
> <http://www.w3.org/2002/09/wbs/35422/20120816misc/results>
> Here are some of the major concerns that emerged from our discussion:
> * This note reads very prescriptively for an informative document. If it is
> meant to be normative, the task force should recharter to produce a
> normative document. Otherwise, the "requirement" and  "conformance"
> language should be softened.
> *  Need to clarify the scope of this effort, because of WCAG concern that
> this not be interpreted as the only acceptable methodology for evaluating
> WCAG conformance.
> * There were many concerns about language restricting this methodology to
> entire web sites. This goes beyond WCAG. If this is being presented as the
> endorsed methodology for evaluating WCAG conformance, it should not impose
> requirements beyond WCAG. This happens in a number of places in this draft.
> * There are normative references to other content on the ER web site. While
> we think this other information makes good background reading, if the
> requirements of the methodology specifically relies on it, then it needs to
> be in this document. (Example: Section 2.3: " Specific guidance is provided
> in Selecting Web Accessibility Evaluation
> Tools<http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/selectingtools>
> .").
> * The concept of "key" or "primary" functionality could be misused. Perhaps
> you meant "commonly used"?
> * Some presentational issues: disposition of editor's notes; insufficient
> descriptions for diagrams; lists difficult to read.
> Let us know if you have any questions about the comments.
> Thanks,
> Loretta and Gregg
> On Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 7:44 AM, Shadi Abou-Zahra <shadi@w3.org> wrote:
>> Dear WCAG WG,
>> Eval TF is currently finalizing edits on an updated Editor Draft of
>> Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology 1.0. Please feel
>> free to pre-review it and give us any feedback you may have.
>> We expect to bring this document to WCAG WG for publication approval
>> within the coming weeks so your feedback at this stage is helpful.
>> Please find the Editor Draft including a summary of changes made in
>> Appendix D of the document:
>>   - <http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/**conformance/ED-methodology-**20120730<http://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/conformance/ED-methodology-20120730>
>> Regards,
>>    Shadi
>> --
>> Shadi Abou-Zahra - http://www.w3.org/People/**shadi/<http://www.w3.org/People/shadi/>
>> Activity Lead, W3C/WAI International Program Office
>> Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group (ERT WG)
>> Research and Development Working Group (RDWG)
> This e-mail is confidential. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose or use the information contained within. If you have received it in error please return it to the sender via reply e-mail and delete any record of it from your system. The information contained within is not the opinion of Edith Cowan University in general and the University accepts no liability for the accuracy of the information provided.

Shadi Abou-Zahra - http://www.w3.org/People/shadi/
Activity Lead, W3C/WAI International Program Office
Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group (ERT WG)
Research and Development Working Group (RDWG)
Received on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 12:18:27 UTC

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