If you speak Arabic or Farsi, I need your help. If you don’t speak, share this post with someone who does.
Right-to-left (RTL) languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, and Farsi are used by roughly 1.8 billion people around the world. Many of them consume data in their native languages. Nevertheless, I have never seen any research or study that explores data visualization in RTL languages. Until a couple of days ago, when I saw this interesting observation by Nick Doiron “Charts when you read right-to-left“.
I teach data visualization in Israeli colleges. Whenever a student asks me RTL-related questions, I always answer something like “it’s complicated, let’s not deal with that”. Moreover, in the assignments, I even allow my students to submit graphs in English, even if they write the report in Hebrew.
Nick’s post made me wonder about data visualization do’s and don’ts in RTL environments. Should Hebrew charts differ from Arabic or Farsi? What are the accepted practices?
If you speak Arabic or Farsi, I need your help. If you don’t speak, share this post with someone who does. I want to collect as many examples of data visualization in RTL languages. Links to research articles are more than welcome. You can leave your comments here or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The image at the top of this post is a modified version of a graph that appears in the post that I cite. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the original publication.