This morning Unicode posted a proposal from Apple recommending the addition of 13 disability-themed emoji to Unicode’s global character standard. New emoji proposed include a guide dog, woman with white cane, man with white cane and ear with hearing aid.
The proposed emojis broadly cover four main categories - Blind and Low Vision, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Physical Motor, and Hidden Disabilities - and have been Developed in collaboration with organizations such as American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf.
Apple states in its proposal that the addition of these new emoji would better represent people with disabilities and provide a more inclusive experience:
At Apple, we believe that technology should be accessible to everyone and should provide an experience that serves individual needs. Adding emoji emblematic to users’ life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability. Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, as well as a form of self-expression, and can be used not only to represent one's own personal experience, but also to show support for a loved one.
This new set of emoji that we are proposing aims to provide a wider array of options to represent basic categories for people with disabilities. 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.
According to Emojipedia, If approved, these characters would be shortlisted for potential inclusion in Emoji 12.0 which comes out in the first half of 2019. Emojipedia has a summary and image of each of the proposed new emoji.
These are the new emoji proposed by Apple:
- Deaf sign, female
- Deaf sign, male
- Man in mechanized wheelchair
- Woman in mechanized wheelchair
- Ear with hearing aid
- Woman in manual wheelchair
- Man in manual wheelchair
- Woman with white cane
- Man with white cane
- Prosthetic arm
- Prosthetic leg
- Guide dog with harness
- Service dog with vest and leash
When including the options for skin tones, this makes a total of 45 proposed new enojis.
We would recommend that you read Apple's original proposal document, as this provides background to its proposal and an interesting insight in to how new emoji are proposed and approved.
We would love to hear your thoughts on these proposed new emoji, so do post a comment to let us know your opinion.