The Middle-East languages inclusion manifesto
Computers have always struggled with right-to-left writing.
In a right-to-left, top-to-bottom script (commonly shortened to right to left or abbreviated RTL), writing starts from the right of the page and continues to the left, proceeding from top to bottom for new lines. This can be contrasted against left-to-right writing systems, where writing starts from the left of the page and continues to the right. (source: Wikipedia).
In the west, the first computers were created with Latin letters, going from left to right. It was not their concern how their technologies were adopted in the east back then, and we cannot blame them since they had their own thing to worry about, which was ensuring all of the technology was working, and we respect them.
Although, after years of struggle, since the default writing direction is left to right, Middle-Easterners have had to adopt weird methods and hack the text somehow, so the writing direction will look just right (or as close as possible) for the end-users.
Middle-Easterners are coming up with solutions that reverse a paragraph’s direction. Imagine having to do that for every paragraph to write with your native language.
Exactly. That would be a nightmare.
There’s a social responsibility once a company reach a specific size — They should acknowledge that the users in the west read differently than those in the east or the far east. Product companies should acknowledge that “globalization” puts the responsibility on them. The support for diversity, inclusion, and politically correctness starts with the most fundamental thing — Language.
Here are some tools that supports bidirectional reading and writing — Sketch, Framer.
And here are some tools that do not support bidirectional reading and writing — Figma, Adobe XD, Notion, Slack, Evernote
If a company uses such a product, then the company suppresses communication and creative thinking.
Support bidirectional-text in your product today.
Eden Vidal, CEO, Relate
Inbal Lapidot Vidal, Co-founder, Under
Aviran Revach, Head of Design, Soluto
Mushon Zer Aviv, Co-founder, Shual