Apple is seeking to fill a significant gap in the emoji gamut by proposing new characters that reflect people with disabilities.
Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities. Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.
Apple says its proposal — which covers four main categories: Blind and Low Vision; Deaf and Hard of Hearing; Physical Motor; and Hidden Disabilities — is not meant to be comprehensive but ‘to provide an initial starting point for greater representation for diversity within the emoji universe’.
They include a guide dog with harness, a person with a white cane, an ear with a hearing aid, persons in electric and manual wheelchairs, figures signing, prosthetic limbs and a service dog with vest and leash.
In its submission Apple says:
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.
If approved, the new emoji will debut in 2019.