Charts when you read right-to-left

Examples where time runs Left to Right

Here’s a recent line chart from a Jordanian education organization. As you can see, all of the labels and numbers are in Arabic, but just like an American startup, the “hockey stick chart” soars up and to the right.

Examples where time runs Right to Left

The Hebrew Wikipedia article for ‘line chart’ flips the x-axis, and places the y-axis to the right of the chart. I’ve noticed that this language Wikipedia flips other graphics, such as the solar system, more often than Arabic script Wikis.

  • order of the categories
  • label placement on the leading edge of the bars (English left, Arabic right), with additional changes to fit the new USD suffix text
  • arrow sections below the chart (existing/potential market size) change direction
  • no change to the stock market icon for Islamic Finance (points right)

Conclusions

It looks as though left-to-right is the more common practice, especially for line charts. It’s tough to say if either direction is correct, because professionals have made different conclusions. I would suggest to check for context and previous experience in your language and region first, and be prepared for lots of small details (and technical hurdles, depending on graphing software) when internationalizing a right-to-left chart.

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Web->ML developer and mapmaker.

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