I recently converted my bicycle from a derailleur setup to an internally geared hub. During the conversion, I also replaced the previous crankset (with three chainrings) by a crankset having a single chainring. I am very happy with the result because I mostly ride in flat to slightly hilly terrain where the gear transmission ratios provided by the hub suffice. I especially like the perfect chainline on the bike.
However, I might have to use the bike to climb steeper hills from time to time. For this purpose, a crankset with two chainrings might be interesting. Because with the current chainline the chainring is already very close to the frame, there is no way of adding an extra, smaller chainring to the left of the chainring I would use 99 % of the time while keeping the perfect chainline for this most important chainring.
However, I have my old, now unused crankset to play around with. I wondered if it would be possible to mount a smaller chainring to the right of a bigger chainring. The answer is: Yes, it is possible, and to me it looks like it could work (see photo below). This way, I would have a rather bad chainline with the smaller chainring, but I would use it only in rare cases.
The question is: Is there a reason that the chainring size in all bicycles I have seen so far increases from left to right or can this be inverted without difficulties? Has anybody here tried to change the chainring order and can tell if it works?