Tuesday, 24/Sep/2019

Blog entry
Design systems
Right to left

Icons in right-to-left design systems

Conventional wisdom dictates when converting layouts designed for left-to-right languages to right-to-left ones to mirror the user interface. But when mirroring the UI it is worth noting not every element must be mirrored. Elements like some icons must be considered individually, and when required, treated differently.

As a rule of thumb any icons implying direction, such as the next or previous in a pagination pattern, need to be mirrored to make sense to a user who will automatically default to the appropriate direction in an right to left language.

Icons which do not imply direction, but are designed to mimic real life instead, need to stay in a left to right direction.

Think for example of the magnifying glass used to indicate search. As the majority of the population is right handed then it makes sense to keep the icon the same in both directional systems with the handle on the right. This way the user can relate to it easier.

previous blog entry

Right-to-left languages in design systems

Design systems  •  Right to left  •  UX