Duolingo adds Arabic (and its flag strategy begins to fall apart)

Duolingo is an impressive language-learning app. I can’t say I’ve become fluent on any of the languages offered but I certainly enjoy sampling them.

And now you can sample Arabic.

Unfortunately, Duolingo continues to use flags for navigational purposes. Here is one such implementation, in which flags are used to indicate languages.

It can be well argued that flags make sense for some of these languages.

However, one need only look at Arabic to see how flags fall far short; shown above is the flag of the Arab League, even though Arabic is used well beyond this region. Also along these lines, should we assume that the English being taught is relevant only within the borders of the USA?

For many more reasons why using flags can be dangerous for any website or app, check out my report FLAG FREE.

John Yunker
John is co-founder of Byte Level Research and author of Think Outside the Country as well as 16 annual editions of The Web Globalization Report Card.
John Yunker

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