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Re: Normative and Non-Normative - Why?

From: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 19:19:15 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Cc: Graham Oliver <graham_oliver@yahoo.com>, <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>

         May be my perception from the conversations on normative 
checkpoints, and it may be the vocabulary. "Normative" is used in education 
to describe types of assessment instruments/tests that have be calibrated 
to express the "norm" or "average" for the demographics of the test takers. 
A "normative" test item would be a test question that results in a uniform 
score. Hence my perception of "normative" checkpoints as being those that 
are testable to a "normed" standard. And my belief you were trying to 
separate the machine testable checkpoints from the humanly subjective ones ...


At 10:22 AM 10/16/01 -0400, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>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
>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.
>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

Anne Pemberton

Received on Tuesday, 16 October 2001 19:21:59 UTC

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