Anatomy UI


True internationalization requires different content provided in different languages, but there are some easy to follow rules to ensure interfaces look their best everywhere.


UTF-8 is the only valid character encoding accepted on HTML5 documents.1 However, the exclusion of this value means a default character encoding other than UTF-8 may be used, which can create encoding issues for special characters. Therefore, ensure your site includes the following at the top of the  tag:

<meta charset="utf-8" />


Avoid using the direction css property2 and opt for the dir attribute instead. This can be applied to the entire document via the <html> element or on individual elements (for example, when displaying part of the text in another language).

Additionally, use a combination of the text-orientation and writing-mode css properties to control how text is laid out. This is useful for languages that are read vertically and from right to left. The writing-mode property can be used to set text in vertical mode, which is required for the text-orientation property as it only works on vertical text.3

Dorothy leaned her chin upon her hand

p {

Multiple language support

To purposefully change the direction of a block of text, use the <bdo> tag in combination with the dir attribute.4 To wrap a block of text whose direction is unknown at run time (e.g. pulling data that includes text in multiple writing modes), use the <bdi> tag, with no attributes required.5