Sometimes I use arrows pointing right to mean progression, and arrows pointing left to mean regression. Looking at internet browsers' back/forward buttons, I assume this is universal, but I don't know why. The main explanation that occurs to me is that in western languages we write from the left to the right, so progression in other forms of content would feel more natural if they followed that same convention. However, if the direction of text isn't universal in the world, are buttons pointing right universally seen as buttons meaning progression? Is this a case where the convention now stands by itself in spite of its origin?

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The reason for this is that you most likely are more familiar with left-to-right (LTR) languages, so your engrained progress is moving from the left to the right. People who are more familiar with right-to-left (RTL) languages such as Arabic or Hebrew, are likely to see a progression from the right to left as moving forward. You can see this in common graphs used in Arabic where time usually progresses from right to left.

Here is a graph from an Arabic news site where time progresses from right to left with the axis on the right:

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However most RTL language users are also exposed to progress moving from left to right simply because of the amount of content targeted at LTR language users, and so they will usually be far more flexible in their perceptions.

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