W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > October to December 2001

Re: Normative and Non-Normative - Why?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 10:22:03 -0400 (EDT)
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
cc: Graham Oliver <graham_oliver@yahoo.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0110161010300.11582-100000@tux.w3.org>
Nope, this is pretty total misperception.

Normative refers to those things which are required to know for understanding
the specification - informative means those things which are useful to know.

In theory, removing all the informative content won't affect what someone has
to do to conform - and removing normative content will change the
requirements (unless there are normative requirements that are redundant -
two or more statements or requirements that are the same).

Normative has nothing to do with how tests are done, or what the intention
might be.

The reason for having informative content is that even though it isn't
strictly necessary to know it in order to implement the specification, it is
helpful.

Essentially the normative requirements of WCAG 1.0 are the things in the
checklist, and the rest is informmative - you must do the normative things to
accurately claim conformance, and the rest is helpful information.

These words are commonly used in standards specifications, such as W3C
recommendations. Obviously WCAG has had a wider audience than most W3C
Recommendations, and maybe we should try to clarify these words or use
different language.

cheers

Chaals

On Tue, 16 Oct 2001, Anne Pemberton wrote:

  Graham,

           Others will correct my perception, but basically "normative"
  refers to those things which have a clear dividing line between what is and
  isn't accessible. Non-normative are those things for which a range of
  accessibility is necessary and for which no one wants to commit to a clear
  dividing line because it will automatically dis-include some whose web use
  depends on those things.

           Normative presumes that if your site passes some machine test, it
  is considered conformant even tho the meat of accessibility hasn't been
  met. Non-normative means a human has to look at the site and decide if it
  complies.

                                           Anne
Received on Tuesday, 16 October 2001 10:22:05 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Monday, 7 December 2009 10:47:16 GMT