I'm designing an application for android and it needs a bottom navigation bar. The application is for Iranian users and so the language is Persian which is right to left. The question is how should be the ordering of elements in the bottom navigation bar?

As in applications like Google+, Instagram and Twitter which is mostly used by everybody, the most used view icon is the left one (like home or tweet view), is it better to follow this manner in order to be similar to what people use daily or is it better to use the opposite ordering just because the language is in Persian and the design should be right to left? which approach is preferable?

  • Interesting question. I'd say yes, but... what about bi-lingual people and switching languages when visiting the site. For example dependending on the device they are using. Wouldn't it mess with their visual/muscle memory? Jul 21, 2016 at 8:29
  • @MarjanVenema exactly! in Iran, apps like instagram and twitter are widely used... and the design is not customized for Iranian users (and if it is, mostly people use the English version) Though the language is right to left, maybe the user experience is enhanced if in some cases we design vice versa. Jul 21, 2016 at 10:01

2 Answers 2


If you look at a site with a big market in a right-to-left country, like say, Qatar Airways.


You'll see it's essentially a mirror version of the English version:


So I'd say a good rule of thumb is mirror the page when switching between the two reading directions.

  • 1
    I think that's because almost everytime developers try to make a template right to left, they just replace all lefts to right and all ltrs to rtls in the CSS and vice versa. There's not much thought behind it Jul 22, 2016 at 5:30
  • @MJafarMash I disagree that there's not much thought behind it, at least in the instance I provide. The content changes, as do the colours, and the styling to accommodate the language and culture. That said, in answering OP's question, you're right, the solution is probably that simple, since it's specifically about the orientation of content based on culture, which my example exemplifies clearly also.
    – visualbear
    Aug 16, 2016 at 10:13

In case of Persian language and Iranian users, since most of applications we use don't provide Persian localization and we use them in English, we are more familiar with the ltr layout and mirroring buttons makes us confused. So I prefer not mirroring layout.

To test it, change your laptop or phone's language to Persian, I bet mirrored layout is very confusing and you won't like it.

PS: check my comment on visualbear's answer.

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