In mobile applications, it's common to drill down with the new view animating in from the right. Going back results in the opposing animation (from the left). These are analogous to turning a page.

In RTL locales such as Hebrew or Arabic, should those animation directions be reversed? Wouldn't users think of forward as being to the left and back as being to the right?

I couldn't find any information about this in Apple's HIG document.

If anyone can point to examples, that would be great.


iQuran is an impressive Android and iOS app for reading the Quran. Given this apps popularity it can be a good example on how to proceed on a RTL locale. In fact, this app is the book for a big part of the right-to-left reading people.

Overall, the app avoids using swiping transitions. The only time there is an obvious left or right transition desition is when the user changes chapter: as you can see on this video of the "micro" version (uQuran), the user uses right or left arrows to navigate between chapters. I'm ignorant to know if going left is next or previous chapter, but my guess is that it works as in the atoms version of the book: left is next.

On a side note, on this related question on RTL UI guidelines there is a key concept:

Generally layout should be mirrored.

Which in my opinion is a good rule of thumb (taken with a pinch of salt).

UPDATE: Here is what an Arabic-speaking web developer friend of mine has to say about the subject:

Absolutely right. It is very important to adapt the navigation direction to the RTL reading. When u read in English, the script is from left to right, and so to change the page you go from right to left. In that way you always start from the left. When you read in RTL languages, i.e Arabic, the script is from right to left, and you need to swipe from left to right so that you always start from the right.

  • That certainly makes sense for applications whose content is modelled on a book or printed literature - but is it also the case generally? Do Arabic-speaking users expect steps to proceed right-to-left, and positive 'proceed' buttons on the left of dialogs? – Jimmy Breck-McKye Dec 25 '11 at 21:48
  • @JimmyBreck-McKye On Android the design guide says that positive buttons in dialogs should be on the right side. That does change when you switch to a RTL language. If you switch to, for instance, Arabic then the 'Cancel' button will be on the right and 'OK' on the left side. – Zsolt Safrany Jun 29 '14 at 12:19

I know you're asking for mobile applications but this site may help you deciding the RTL feature within your mobile app. It is a nice read when it comes to RTL going both ways in design an app/website, check it here

For my personal experience, clients (if someone in Mid-East) they prefer that they're site have a options to read in English (as a universal language) and users who really understand English language and Arabic as for there users locally.

Better to have some options as a practice for different languages such as Arabic if your mobile app will have a broader audience.

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