Monday, October 8, 2007

RTL Languages and International Usability

When you localize a product into a right to left language such as Hebrew or Arabic, how much do you have to change the position of UI elements?

It's a pretty simple question, and I think the answer is also pretty simple. If you have to have your eye on the right side of the page to start reading a sentence, then your eye is going to start on the right side of the page.

As far as I can tell, that's the extent of the problem. What are the implications?

You can't assume that users will start in the upper left corner and scan down to the bottom right of a page. Important navigation tools should be on the right or the top. Tab order should go from the right to left.

Is that the whole story? As someone who knows absolutely nothing about the subject, it's tempting to say yes. Unfortunately, Saleh, a Persian blogger, knows better. I recommend reading his blog.

This originally appeared on PC-Doctor's blog.

No comments: