In a bid to make more inclusive emoji, Apple has requested Unicode Consortium to come up with characters that correctly represent individuals with disabilities. For those unaware, Unicode Consortium is the nonprofit organization that sets the global standard for our emojis.
"Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities," the company confirmed in its recently published proposal. "Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all."
The Cupertino-based tech behemoth worked in collaboration with multiple community organizations including National Association of the Deaf, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and American Council of the Blind in order to make 13 new emojis. The recommended emojis comprises a person in a wheelchair, an ear with a hearing aid, a service dog and a person with a cane, and a prosthetic arm to name a few. The aforesaid emojis must first be approved by Unicode. After the company rolls out its guidelines, software giants such as Google and Apple come up with versions for their Android and iOS platforms, respectively. That's exactly why emojis seem to look different on both platforms.
"Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities," Apple wrote in its Proposal For New Accessibility Emoji. The company wanted to include a broad range of options especially in four main categories such as hidden disabilities, physical motor disabilities, deaf and hard of hearing, blind and low vision.
Apple deemed this as a mere prelude, noting this is not a complete list of all imaginable disabilities. The committee meeting is slated to take place next month and Unicode is currently considering the proposal. If accepted, the characters are likely to be included next year. Check out the video below for more details: (Image Credit: adrianisen / YouTube screencap)