How to Design for Arabic Users
When you think about the best websites, apps, and designs you have ever seen you will probably think of designs with a western structure. But have you thought about how the same website would look for an Arabic audience? Designing for an Arabic audience is not just about translating. A language is not only a way to express ideas for users, but it also determines how to tell a story, how to connect with the world and how to engage with your users. A language is not only a way to express ideas for users, but it also determines how to tell a story, how to connect with the world and how to engage with your users. When we talk about the Arabic world we refer to the 358 million people in 25 countries and territories that speak Arabic. If the Arabic population was one country, it would represent the world’s eighth-largest economy — bigger than India or Russia. More than half the population is under 25 years of age, making it one of the world’s most youthful markets. It is a new whole economy that is growing every day and should be looked at. The question is, how do we design for them? Design by: Hanan Hamdy Mirroring: an oppositive way to look to the world When you design for an Arabic user you have to take into consideration the RTL (right-to-left) reading, which determines how you present a story, CTAs, image progressions, and product colocation. Mirroring is the technique to apply design for content for Arabic countries. While in Western countries (the ones that have the Latin alphabet) you apply LTR (left to right) reading, in the Arabic world, you should “mirror” the design in order to create the LTR (left to right) reading. This technique is often named the 101. Arabic users are more likely to perceive progression and forward movement if shown designs from right to left. Research has indicated that an Arabic user’s reading pattern is based on mirroring. Starting from the top right corner of the page, they scan across the top and then scan down the right-hand side of the content. This is an example of how a story has to be presented for an Arabic audience. Even the movement of opening the door has to be inverted in order to be consistent with the LTR reading. Also, you can see how Facebook is represented in the Middle East. It looks like the page is presented using a mirror. Languages The written word is an important key of any interface and it will lead the user to understand your product easily and clearly. Arabic is a language that employs more words than English. Information that can be communicated in a few words in English might need a long sentence in Arabic. Latin characters are longer and narrower than Arabic characters, meaning they take up more space horizontally. Most of the Arabic letters are written together, many have dots and small symbols that are written above the letters. This adds further challenges to making the reading comfortable for the user. Indeed, the Arabic language’s complexity can affect how clear you want to be with your product. For this reason, direct translation doesn’t work in Arabic languages. Finding the right words to express your sentiment concisely is always the best option to help the visual design perspective. Finding the right words to express your sentiment concisely is always the best option to help the visual design perspective. Have a look at the text length in the Arabic version’s buttons. It is recommended to use a…
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