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Re: Web page layouts in different cultures - question from DIWG

From: Najib Tounsi <ntounsi@emi.ac.ma>
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 19:49:33 +0000
Message-ID: <432F164D.7090901@emi.ac.ma>
To: Bruno Girin <Bruno.Girin@cambista.com>
CC: www-international-request@w3.org, www-di@w3.org, www-international@w3.org

Bruno Girin wrote:

>  One issue I have come across regularly is in right-to-left languages
>  such as Arabic. In this case, the whole flow and layout of the site
>  is reversed; browsers will put the scrollbar on the left of the
>  window when you have dir="rtl" in the html tag.

Exact, with IE, dir="rtl" puts the scrollbar to the left. This might 
look "unusual" when you are accustomed  to work with a Western version 
of an OS or softwares (browsers, Editors ...)
I think you should distingish between:
- The language version of a browser
- The language of the content (with various directions) to be  displayed
If the version of the browser is a Western one, with a window main menu 
(File, Edit, ..., help) showed from left to right and left justified, 
then it is natural to keep the scroll bar on the RIGHT of the window. (I 
say natural, because I think of the right/left buttons of a mouse which 
do not depend on a given language)
If the version of the browser is in an rtl one (Arabic/Hebrew/...) with 
the window main menu (help, ...., Edit, File) showed from right to left 
and right justified, then one might consider to move the scroll bar to 
the left of the window. A question of configuration?

>  This is particularly obvious on multi-lingual sites where for
>  instance the English version might have a menu column on the left and
>  the Arabic version the same menu on the right. This can potentially
>  cause headaches

Especially when you translate from Western to RTL.

>  in terms of code because a lot of CSS properties are absolute rather
>  than relative to the layout direction (e.g. float:left/right,
>  margin-left, padding-right, etc.)

If the words right or left apears in CSS, then you can do some thing; 
you can "see" where to change.
It is less obvious with the properties like (margin: 1 2 3 4;) where you 
might have to permute 2 and 4.


>  Although I have never worked with languages that traditionally
>  display vertically (i.e. you read columns top to bottom rather than
>  lines), I suspect you'd want horizontal scrolling. Unfortunately
>  neither HTML nor CSS support vertical layout.
>  And that's only for languages still widely used today. Hieroglyphic
>  scripts such as ancient Maya are even more complex.
>  Bruno
>  -----Original Message----- From: www-international-request@w3.org
>  [mailto:www-international-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Rotan Hanrahan
>  Sent: 19 September 2005 11:49 To: www-international@w3.org Cc:
>  www-di@w3.org Subject: Web page layouts in different cultures -
>  question from DIWG
>  At a recent meeting of the Device Independence Working Group
>  (W3C-DIWG) we discussed the issue of page layouts, and how to
>  represent/process them when adapting content for different devices.
>  Our perception of page layouts is based mostly on our Western
>  experience of such pages, as such people are in the majority in our
>  group. Typically: logo and ads on the top, navigation down the left,
>  copyright at the bottom, scrolling the page is vertical etc...
>  However, we were concerned that such layouts may not be
>  representative of the non-Western world. I am seeking references to
>  information about this topic. If it turns out that the Western ideas
>  of page layouts are broadly compatible with the ideas of page layout
>  around the world, then there is no issue for us to worry about.
>  (For immediate response from DI to any relevant ideas on this issue,
>  please email the www-di public mailing list.)
>  Thank you.
>  ---Rotan Hanrahan (member DI, chair DD, ACRep MobileAware)
>  _____________________________________________________________________
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Najib TOUNSI (mailto:tounsi@w3.org)
Bureau W3C au Maroc (http://www.w3c.org.ma/)
Ecole Mohammadia d'Ingenieurs, BP 765 Agdal-RABAT Maroc (Morocco)
Phone : +212 (0) 37 68 71 74  Fax : +212 (0) 37 77 88 53
Mobile: +212 (0) 61 22 00 30
Received on Monday, 19 September 2005 19:50:17 UTC

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