RE: Designing Data Entry Forms for RTL Environments ...

From: Phillips, Addison (
Date: Thu Aug 14 2008 - 12:00:58 CDT

  • Next message: Jony Rosenne: "RE: Designing Data Entry Forms for RTL Environments ..."

    > > It goes without saying that for the "Name:" <input> element (and
    > > other similar entry elements) we will set the CSS "direction"
    > property
    > > to "rtl".
    > Why?
    > First, somebody might prefer his name to be written in Latin
    > characters.
    > Second, Arabic and Hebrew letters go "automatically" from right to
    > left even with "dir=ltr".

    Yes, and Latin letters automatically go from left-to-right. The question is the *base* directionality. An Arabic or Hebrew form in which the base input direction is left-to-right would seem odd to users in those languages (e.g. the cursor is positioned at the other end of the input field, the cursor's "flag" points the "wrong" way, etc.).

    > > For the sake of simplicity, lets assume that this form is for
    > > a business application, and so the date element allows the user
    > > to enter a Gregorian date using digits only, at a minimum in
    > > ISO YYYY-MM-DD form.
    > That would even be too complicated for most Americans.
    > Split "Birthday" into three fields, "Year of birth", "month of
    > birth", "day of birth".

    Or show users a calendar, so they can't mess up (by using a traditional, non-Gregorian, calendar, for example). But I think the idea here was to exclude the input from the problem. The question is whether some fields might use dir="ltr" to good effect in an rtl layout.

    I think there are probably some fields that make sense with a base directionality of ltr in an rtl context (which is the question). But I also tend to think that having a directionality of rtl doesn't hurt anything for the example given. As noted, they look and act different. See:


    Addison Phillips
    Globalization Architect -- Lab126

    Internationalization is not a feature.
    It is an architecture.

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