I have an app that displays a series of animation frames as thumbnails in a row from left to right. Should I display this from right to left if the device is set to use a right-to-left language? There aren't any text elements displayed on the timeline. In other words, does "right" usually mean "earlier" and "left" usually mean "later" to an RTL user? Or does it vary from culture to culture?

I found this question which is similar, but the answer specifically refers to the convention for displaying numerals and bases the answer on that, I'm talking about a completely text-free UI element.

2 Answers 2


Yes, you should definitely mirror them as well. In fact there are plenty of things to make sure you RTL (verb) if you're targeting Right-To-Left users with your app/website/etc.. We had a similar layout in Gallery App in Firefox OS and we've made sure to mirror that correctly. OTOH, I wrote 2 articles on Mozilla Hacks that can answer your question in detail and many more.

Part 1: https://hacks.mozilla.org/2015/09/building-rtl-aware-web-apps-and-websites-part-1/

Part 2: https://hacks.mozilla.org/2015/10/building-rtl-aware-web-apps-websites-part-2/

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    You haven't really said why you should RTL here. It may be in the links you provided, but the links should be used as citations with the actual relevant content transcribed within the answer itself. After all, this is a Question and Answer site, not a Question and Related Link site.
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 9:33

This question is pretty old, but it still applies. I'm an iOS developer and came across these Internationalization and Localization guidelines:

Types of controls and content that should not flip in a right-to-left language are:

  • Video controls and timeline indicators
  • Images, unless they communicate a sense of direction, such as arrows
  • Clocks
  • Music notes and sheet music
  • Graphs (x– and y–axes always appear in the same orientation)

The rest of the guide is here: https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/documentation/MacOSX/Conceptual/BPInternational/SupportingRight-To-LeftLanguages/SupportingRight-To-LeftLanguages.html

  • To add a point to this, timelines use the concept of the X axis to indicate increasing time. Just as one does not reverse graphs in a RTL language, one doesn't reverse a timeline, as it implies positive increasing to the left, and negative to the right - which is backwards of how a graph would be displayed in any situation.
    – Tim Holt
    Commented Apr 29, 2020 at 4:25

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