Apple has proposed a bunch of new accessibility emoji that it wants to bring to iOS.
There are nine altogether — some of which are available in different genders and skin tones — including guide dogs, a heading aid, prosthetic limbs, and more.
One in seven people suffer from some form of disability, Apple states in its proposal to the Unicode Consortium — the non-profit corporation that’s responsible for deciding which characters make it into the Unicode Standard.
Although there are a growing collection of emoji that represent people, activities and objects, Apple points out that very few speak to the life experiences of those with disabilities.
Apple proposes guide dogs, hearing aids, and more
“Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities,” the company says. “Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities,” the proposal continues.
Apple notes the suggestions are “not meant to be a comprehensive list of all possible depictions of disabilities,” but rather “an initial starting point.”
They were developed in collaboration with the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf.
In addition to guide dogs, a hearing aid, and prosthetic limbs, Apple suggests people using canes, people in wheelchairs, and people using sign language. There are nine altogether, some of which are available in different genders and skin tones.
Four main categories
“Every individual’s experience with their disability is unique and, therefore, the representations have unlimited possibilities,” Apple notes. “It would be impossible to cover every possible use case with a limited set of characters.”
“For this proposal, we have selected a set of emoji that are most inclusive to a large
number of people in four main categories: Blind and Low Vision, Deaf and Hard of Hearing,
Physical Motor, and Hidden Disabilities.”
It will now be up to the Unicode Technical Committee to review Apple’s proposal and make a decision on which emoji will make it into future standards. Its next meeting will be held next month at Adobe’s headquarters in San Jose.
If approved, the new emoji could be included in the Emoji 12.0 standard, which will debut in early 2019. New additions for 2018 have already been finalized and will be making their way to iOS later this year.