Towards the Right Direction in BiDirectional User Interfaces

01/20/2021 ∙ by Yulia Goldenberg, et al. ∙ 0

Hundreds of millions of speakers of bidirectional (BiDi) languages rely on writing systems that mix the native right-to-left script with left-to-right strings. The global reach of interactive digital technologies requires special attention to these people, whose perception of interfaces is affected by this script mixture. However, empirical research on this topic is scarce. Although leading software vendors provide guidelines for BiDi design, bidirectional interfaces demonstrate inconsistent and incorrect directionality of UI elements, which may cause user confusion and errors. Through a websites' review, we identified problematic UI items and considered reasons for their existence. In an online survey with 234 BiDi speakers, we observed that in many cases, users' direction preferences were inconsistent with the guidelines. The findings provide potential insights for design rules and empirical evidence for the problem's complexity, suggesting the need for further empirical research and greater attention by the HCI community to the BiDi design problem.

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