Why right to left web designs is not easy
By: Vareen Azad, Date: 24/11/2018
The Middle Eastern market is developing at a fast pace, and, therefore, interest for IT items is additionally blasting in the locale. So regarding the development of websites, Middle Eastern countries need a website design that is not only compatible with their needs and comfortable for their users, but that is also appropriate to their language standards, making a serious alteration process very important. Given that most dialects talked in the Middle East are composed and perused from right to left like Kurdish and Arabic languages. Developers while designing websites they face a range of problems when creating products in those languages. Although this might seem like not that big of a deal, IT development for right-to-left (RTL) languages entails paying attention to a number of peculiarities.
By the way that the RTL showcase is moderately new, and very few assets are accessible to encourage engineers and only one out of every odd organization give RTL configuration yet Standing Tech Company gives a full assembled RTL plan for clients and their involvement with RTL advancement has empowered them to gather an intensive rundown of tips that are valuable for anybody building up a RTL item, (for example, a site or portable application). The way toward adjusting a site to a specific region, is basic for any interface, regardless of whether just a little measure of substance is there. As various regions and distinctive dialect bunches have different highlights, engineers must consider these distinctions while making a site. A portion of these structures might be difficult to see, especially without the assistance of a local speaker. These highlights are especially apparent with regards to structuring and creating sites for the Middle Eastern market.
Demand for the creation of right-to-left (RTL) websites has grown over the years due to the fact that Arabic is the 4th most popular language globally. According to Arab Media Outlook, 60% of Arabic speakers prefer browsing internet content in Arabic. The lack of currently available content in Arabic & Kurdish and the existing need for this content among users is sure to continue this growth. But off course there are some difficulties and limitation of developing a RTL website design as below:
Differences & Difficulties in RTL design
When designing and developing an RTL website, the decisions that need to be made can oftentimes be confusing for those used to designing LTR projects. Applying a mirrored structure should help those starting out ease into the transition.
The creation of web services and localization of already existing products for the Middle Eastern market is stipulated by certain features that can differ vastly from English (left-to-right) websites. The set of rules and design solutions used for LTR websites are of little value when developing websites for an Arabic or Kurdish RTL audience. This is because RTL websites require a different structure, typography, and imagery. At first glance, it might seem like an Arabic website is just a mirrored copy of an English one. However, it can involve a lot of effort to make a page with mirrored content appear properly on a screen. The below content re the creation of RTL projects including potential problems and solutions, below:
WRITING AND VISUALS
The main and most obvious difference between LTR and RTL languages is seen in the direction of writing. In RTL languages, writing and reading is done from right to left. This directional change affects the structure of the website, as well as typography, icons, and images. To design an RTL project, flipping or mirror every piece of content is a must, with a few key exceptions. To understand what to mirror and what to change entirely, it’s important to imagine the motion of time which flows from right to left in Arabic & Kurdish language. For example, a list of icons that displays a specific sequence should start from the right side on an RTL website. With the help of some basic rules, designing an Arabic & Kurdish website can be fairly straightforward. However, when multilingual platforms are involved, it’s crucial to plan out the architecture of the projects properly in order to avoid language conflicts when switching from LTR to RTL languages.
When beginning work on this type of project, developers should spend time designing both LTR and RTL versions since each of these is equally important for a successful end result.
Font problem may also appear in RTL designing, If the client doesn’t own a license for a right-to-left font, and if the standard fonts that come free with design software are not suitable, the question of which font to use can cause problems for designers who do not often work with these languages. This is easily resolved if your DTP provider already owns licenses for a variety of foreign-text fonts, which is a good reason to work with professionals who are familiar with issues surrounding right-to-left DTP.
So for designing Kurdish, Arabic or any other right-to-left language, you have to be sure to work with a Language Service Partner who can provide Arabic-language DTP as well as translation. Fully localized content should look as though it has been developed specifically for your audience, especially with respect to formatting and design.
There are further differences with Arabic & Kurdish when it comes to numbers. Most Arab countries use the more traditional Western Arabic numerals. Western Arabic numerals are slowly becoming increasingly popular, even in more conservative Arab countries like Saudi Arabia. This feature is important to consider when localizing dates and icons and should match what is most commonly used by the locale.
Appropriate consideration ought to be given to Arabic and Kurdish typography. To keep up simple clarity, striking typeface ought to be stayed away from. Emphasized text style is additionally not utilized in Arabic or Kurdish. There are other typographic highlights to mull over include:
- aligning text to the right side.
- shortening days of the week, months, etc. is commonplace in English, but is not appropriate in Arabic & Kurdish.
- resizing font to preserve text readability. Traditional Latin typography fonts won’t fit properly with text in Arabic & Kurdish and therefore font sizes should be increased in the Arabic & Kurdish version;
- factoring in the length of words as most Arabic & Kurdish words are shorter than those in English;
- words in LTR languages don’t change their direction and neither do digits (like phone numbers with international dialing codes). These are still displayed on RTL websites as they would be on LTR websites.
In addition to the fact that images make a site outwardly appealing, they pass on a specific thought. Picking a picture requires proper choice, considering social characteristics with regards to recognition.
Flags for the Arabic and Kurdish rendition of a site can be reflected, however best practices prescribe choosing singular pictures for every form of a site. Basically mirroring an even picture may result in contorted showcase when exchanging among LTR and RTL renditions of the site.
Mirroring icons in an Arabic interface should be done with proper caution. Sometimes mirroring or flipping isn’t necessary and sometimes it is. Basic guidelines are as follows:
- Symmetrical icons, as well as icons without an explicitly specified direction (such as camera, download, user profile, etc.), don’t need to be flipped.
- Icons with an explicit direction should be mirrored. For example, the back button should point to the right in the RTL version.
- Icons that describe movement or text direction should be mirrored (such as text alignment icons, progress charts, etc.)
- Icons featuring English characters don’t need to be mirrored, but should be localized.
- MIRRORING ELEMENTS
Below is a complete overview of elements that may be found in a website’s layout and whether or not these should be mirrored in RTL projects.
- Navigation buttons & logo — a logo is usually placed in the left upper corner of English websites. Oppositely, In RTL websites, the logo is placed in the right upper corner. This principle also applies to the menu and navigation buttons which should be displayed in reverse order.
- Form fields — headings and icons that refer to a given field on a form should be placed in the opposite position on RTL websites.
- Video and audio players — video and audio players should not be mirrored because they represent playback progress instead of the flow of time.
- Dates — Arabic & Kurdish-speaking users have their own calendar, but they are also used to the standard international date format.
- Calendars — calendars need to be mirrored. Monday will be displayed on the right side and Sunday on the left one.
- Tables — columns of tables must be mirrored.
- Browser interface — Internet Explorer and Opera display scrollbars on the left side on Arabic & Kurdish websites.
It is conceivable to make viable utilization of a right-supported route menu gave the visual format unmistakably passes on the planned collaboration with the menu. In spite of the fact that the underlying communication time might be more noteworthy with a right-hand route contrasted with a left-hand route, this ought not be critical.
Clients are not liable to be more befuddled and sever their utilization of the site because of a right-hand route. They may very much want a right-hand route abstractly. Future investigations will affirm or invalidate these discoveries, however unmistakably more research is required. A closer examination of the execution of flat route menus may demonstrate that a best adjusted route menu performs best. Studies demonstrating extra favorable circumstances of a right-legitimized route, for example, more grounded spotlight on page content, ought to be led to enable Web to webpage planners settle on educated choices about the design of a Web page.
For right-to-left languages, the entire layout needs to be oriented right-to-left, not just the text. In English, we read tables left to right, but Arabic-language tables need to be oriented right to left.
In conclusion, web designing for Arab & Kurdish website users does not finish with having content translated from a foreign language. It requires consideration, attention to detail, and the conscience that, while common practices, such as mirroring, may be applied, Arab & Kurdish users are already used to certain tools and results of left-to-right interfaces.
- Nielsen, J. (2000) Designing Web Usability: The Practice of Simplicity. Indianapolis: New Riders.
- Nielsen, J. and Tahir, M. (2001) Homepage Usability: 50 Websites Deconstructed. Indianapolis: New Riders.
- Mobile Web Best Practises. (2014). Design for multiple screen sizes. Mobile Web Best Practises. Cited 23.10.2014, http://mobilewebbestpractices.com/visual-design/design-multiple-sites-for-multiple-widths/