Macworld (USA)

9 new accessibil­ity emojis proposed

If approved, the emojis would appear in the Emoji 12.0 standard scheduled for release in the first half of 2019.


Apple has proposed nine new emoji to the Unicode consortium for inclusion in the standard set of images. If accepted, they will appear in Emoji

12.0, which is scheduled for release early in 2019.

In itself, that’s not a big deal, but Apple’s focus here is laudable.

All nine emoji are aimed at better representa­tion for people with disabiliti­es. Apple makes its intentions clear in its proposal letter to the Unicode Consortium.

One in seven people around the world has some form of disability, whether that be a physical disability involving vision, hearing, or loss of physical motor skills, or a more hidden, invisible disability. The current selection of emoji provides a wide array of representa­tions of people, activities, and objects meaningful to the general public, but very few speak to the life experience­s of those with disabiliti­es.

The new emoji would represent some of the most common disabiliti­es. They are:

> Guide dog with harness

> Person with cane

> Ear with hearing aid

> Deaf sign

> Person in mechanized wheelchair

> Person in manual wheelchair

> Mechanical or prosthetic arm

> Mechanical or prosthetic leg

> Service dog with vest and leash

You can see sample images of all nine emoji here, though different manufactur­ers are able to interpret the standard emoji with their own artistic style. The proposed emoji will have male and female versions where appropriat­e, and support skin tones where appropriat­e. All told, we’re looking at 13 emoji with male/female variants, or 45 with those variations plus skin tones.

These may not be the only emoji in the Emoji 12.0 standard to represent disabiliti­es. Apple’s letter states that, “This is not meant to be a comprehens­ive list of all possible depictions of disabiliti­es, but to provide an initial starting point for greater representa­tion for diversity within the emoji universe.” It is possible that others may be proposed and adopted before the standard set is finalized next year. ■

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