Usability for Arabic & English components


It goes beyond being just a translation!

Multilingual design is a complex undertaking, but it is crucial for making websites accessible to international markets. You need to factor in a lot of elements, such as the native language of your target audience, the connotations associated with different colors and gestures, the typography of the letters, and the user’s preferred device.

A multilingual content strategy covers the lingual aspects of the content of your website. It does not necessarily determine the layout arrangement or interface components. You can include colors and visual elements in the content strategy, or you can address mainly textual elements. How you strategize will depend mainly on your knowledge-base and skillset.

In this article, Layouti will teach you what are the key roles of multilingual design and how a multilingual content strategy can help you achieve your goals to avoid any issues. We will take English <> Arabic interfaces as a case study.

Language Considerations

A vigorous competitor sets a high premium on UX (User Experience) for your website or your product. So, providing a better human understanding will increase your customers. Indeed, users generally prefer things easy to do through usability. However, Smooth monolingual content is not enough for easy communication. A multi-language site develops a high degree of brand loyalty and transforms your products to reach a larger audience, this is how creating successful multilingual experiences begins.

Language considerations

In translation, Multilingual texts reconsider verbal, graphics, colors, icons, symbols, time and date formats, and components adapting the local culture. Regardless of universality standards, the important usability standards to consider is that languages differ in the manner of writing. Unlike English, Arabic is a right-to-left written language.

Knowing your users

You should create a brand-new layout for your online (or offline) publications. Your ideal designer is a native speaker of the target language. Why? Because a native can translate not only text but subtle cultural messages.
The most important aspect of marketing is delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. To do that, you need to speak your target’s language. That includes subtext, cultural references, and a tone of voice that appeals to the target market.
It is important to consider that the Arab users and the West have a completely dissimilar perspective in dealing with technology. Before introducing usability, we look for and understand the general background about the user mentality and his own assumption. For example, Arabs have certain beliefs and restrictions that affect their culture, and so their assumption of using. Generally speaking, the usability criteria originally came from the West which makes it of a western character. Therefore, Arabs are on the wane of the Western mentality. Arab Technological culture has different decisions and interactions based on their environmental circumstances.

Arabic user experience

Because users prefer scanning smooth content, the meaning of the content must be on the surface. Therefore, translators care for the message or the meaning of the content rather than dealing with a literal translation. On the productive side, there are some English that can’t be translated literary to Arabic language and vice versa; the length of the translation is not limited to the number of corresponding original words. Also, if the content increases in the number of words, then the space of design will take more space.

Arabic user experience

The pluralism of Arabic nations, all of whom following the Islamic religion challenges English to Arabic translators since each Arabic region has its own culture and layout. Before starting the translation process, they have to determine which culture to deal with in particular.


Arabic visual design considerations

Here is a breakdown of some considerations when designing Arabic user interfaces:

1. Icons

1. Icons

User’s understanding of an icon is based on previous experience. When the icon’s orientation impacts the user’s expectation, it remains the same.

2. Common words

Layouti team translates the well-known English abbreviations such as iPhone by writing both Arabic and English words to facilitates the understanding process for users. However, Samsung has no literal translation into English, we put it in both languages as in Samsung.

2. Common words

3. Pictures

By understanding targeted culture, Layouti team picks up the competitive appropriate imagery. in the case of translating characters. We understand the meaning of one character in the source culture and search for the equal character carrying the same aspect of the intended meaning.

4. Arabic typography

Achieving the same degree of readability in the targeted text, Layouti team takes into consideration the differences between Arabic and English characters in size and type.

4. Arabic typography

Consequently, suitable styling Arabic text, which is usually larger than the corresponding English type, will ease for the users to understand the translated text. Also, that translating the content of your design could affect the designing process. Regarding the size difference in targeted text, the space needed in designing the layout of your interface will change. For instance, buttons, labels, placeholders, and error messages will be designed differently.

5. Colors

Colors have an in-depth look in each culture, so using a certain color affects the users’ expectations about links, navigation, and overall satisfaction. Layouti team satisfies her customers by introducing the appropriate color for each region.

In France, the color green is associated with criminality. So, an American bank offering her services in France will avoid this indirect unwanted indication. In contrast, this color means a positive sign in the Egyptian and Middle Eastern investors (Boor and Russo, 1993).

6. Line spacing

Colors have an in-depth look in each culture, so using a certain color affects the users’ expectations about links, navigation, and overall satisfaction. Layouti team satisfies her customers by introducing the appropriate color for each region.

6. Line spacing

7. Personal data

Layouti team takes into accounts the personal data format of the targeted audience. Personal data such as name, address, phone, and credit card shall be stored in a specific format of each region.
For example, the “Family Name, First Name” is written in different formats in each region.


Usability is more than introducing a great user experience. Making more user research and expanding the real users’ background will increase product usability. Our interest is to be creative in equalizing the serious cross-culture issues and their implication for managing intercultural differences in the Icons, pictures, typography, colors, personal info, and spacing. Apparently, it is not just a translation!

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