Apple Submits New Accessibility Emojis to Unicode Consortium

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Apple today submitted a new proposal [PDF] to the Unicode Consortium, suggesting the committee introduce a series of accessibility emojis in future Unicode releases.

As outlined by Emojipedia, Apple has suggested emojis that include a guide dog, a hearing aid, a prosthetic arm and leg, sign language, a person in a wheelchair, and a person with a cane. Apple's full list of proposed emojis can be seen in its proposal document.

Image via Emojipedia

In its proposal, Apple says it is aiming to better represent individuals with disabilities to provide a more inclusive experience for all. Apple also says this is not an exhaustive list of "all possible depictions of disabilities," but is rather designed to be "an initial starting point."
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.
To create the emoji suggestions, Apple teamed up with the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf. Its initial proposal focused on people in four categories: Blind and Low Vision, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Physical Motor, and Hidden Disabilities.

Apple says its proposal is a "significant step forward in representing more diverse individuals," and that the company hopes it will "spark a global dialogue around better representation for people with disabilities."

Apple is well-known for its dedicated work on making its products accessible to all users, with a suite of Accessibility features built into all of its iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more. Apple maintains a dedicated Accessibility section on its website where it shares details on available Accessibility features and stories of people who have improved their lives with Apple products.

The Unicode Consortium has already finalized the Emoji 11.0 characters that will be adopted by smartphone companies later this year, but Apple's proposed characters could be added to Emoji 12.0, set to be released in 2019.

Article Link: Apple Submits New Accessibility Emojis to Unicode Consortium
 

d5aqoëp

macrumors 65816
Feb 9, 2016
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In 20 years, we all will talk in a new Emoji language. No English needed.
 

thadoggfather

macrumors G4
Oct 1, 2007
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I don't have a problem with being considerate of accessibility in general by any means (especially the accessibility aspect of settings) ... but is this really genuinely needed or something thats been demanded?

Are users with needs for accessibility wanting emojis related to them?

I'm curious, not just asking rhetorically.

Apple has become a caricature of what Apple would be if they prioritized only trivial things and let everything else fall by the way side like general flimsy quality control of software being littered with bugs but things people put up with because they're 'in the ecosystem'.
 

CarlJ

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Feb 23, 2004
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I'm not a fan of the explosion of Emojis we've had over the past few years - while a few happy/sad faces was fine/useful, everyone is now using "but what about X" to basically reinvent hieroglyphics - but these seem a more reasonable inclusion than a 97th kind of food or a 400th slight variation on an embarrassed face.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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“Consortium.” I don’t know why that makes me laugh so much.

I guess it’s because I imagine some strange cathedral surrounded by magnificent gates, glorious and older than time itself. You enter the hall with trepidation and penitence, footsteps echoing and bouncing off the great pillars. In the distance on the farthest wall looms a large circular mosaic-glass, dingy from eons of neglect, casting a muddied veneer on the floor of the hallowed hall.

What little light there is scarcely reveals the shadow of twelve large oaken chairs, arranged in a half-moon around the presentation altar.

In each chair sits an imposing cloaked figure, the Emoji Elder, one more ancient than the other, who cast their unwavering judgement on which Emoji shall come to pass and which shall be cast into the smouldering pit of fire.

...but maybe that’s just me.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
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The same question was asked when Apple created emojis of people of color. The answer is yes.
While I agree with you, now that we're going down this road, I was happier when Emojis were a non-representational bright yellow. Rather than "emojis for every skin color" we should have stuck with "emojis that aren't any skin color" and things would have been so much simpler. The direction this is headed next is going to be "well, my eye color / hair style / height isn't represented, we must fix that!" They weren't supposed to be portraiture, they were supposed to be indicators of emotions. Sigh.
 

testcard

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Apr 13, 2009
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“Consortium.” I don’t know why that makes me laugh so much.

I guess it’s because I imagine some strange cathedral surrounded by magnificent gates, glorious and older than time itself. You enter the hall with trepidation and penitence, footsteps echoing and bouncing off the great pillars. In the distance on the farthest wall looms a large circular mosaic-glass, dingy from eons of neglect, casting a muddied veneer on the floor of the hallowed hall.

What little light there is scarcely reveals the shadow of twelve large oaken chairs, arranged in a half-moon around the presentation altar.

In each chair sits an imposing cloaked figure, the Emoji Elder, one more ancient than the other, who cast their unwavering judgement on which Emoji shall come to pass and which shall be cast into the smouldering pit of fire.

...but maybe that’s just me.
Just like the Illuminati but with slightly better coding skills.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
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“Consortium.” I don’t know why that makes me laugh so much.
The thing of it is, many people know of the Unicode Consortium only in relation to Emoji's, but, while highly visible, that's pretty much the least important part of their work. They are the reason we have a single standard character set that works for every language, rather than the code page hell that was the 80's/90's. They are the reason you can exchange documents written in multiple languages between machines all over the world without getting complete gibberish on the receiving end. Emoji are just a tiny sideshow, but, sadly, they get all the press because people like cute little pictures, and news providers know articles on Emoji get tons of pageviews and comments.
 
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justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
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Home is everywhere and nowhere.
“Consortium.” I don’t know why that makes me laugh so much.

I guess it’s because I imagine some strange cathedral surrounded by magnificent gates, glorious and older than time itself. You enter the hall with trepidation and penitence, footsteps echoing and bouncing off the great pillars. In the distance on the farthest wall looms a large circular mosaic-glass, dingy from eons of neglect, casting a muddied veneer on the floor of the hallowed hall.

What little light there is scarcely reveals the shadow of twelve large oaken chairs, arranged in a half-moon around the presentation altar.

In each chair sits an imposing cloaked figure, the Emoji Elder, one more ancient than the other, who cast their unwavering judgement on which Emoji shall come to pass and which shall be cast into the smouldering pit of fire.

...but maybe that’s just me.
OT
You should start writing books.:D


Regarding emojis for disabled people, good job Apple.
 
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thadoggfather

macrumors G4
Oct 1, 2007
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The same question was asked when Apple created emojis of people of color. The answer is yes.
Fair enough,

didnt know it was more requested and prioritized than a dark mode, or theming, or five icons on dock, or battery percentage on status bar on X, or any other number of things like making Siri a stellar assistant after all these years of hyping her up.

the people have spoken! iOS innovation!
 
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alpi123

macrumors 65816
Jun 18, 2014
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Apple is lagging behind, they need to include every single American Sign Language (ASL) hand gesture as well in their emoji list. There's not nearly enough emoji yet.

/s
Why include the sign language when you can just type what you want? I like the idea of the new emojis tho.
 

lunarworks

macrumors 68000
Jun 17, 2003
1,662
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Toronto, Canada
The thing of it is, many people know of the Unicode Consortium only in relation to Emoji's, but, while highly visible, that's pretty much the least important part of their work. They are the reason we have a single standard character set that works for every language, rather than the code page hell that was the 80's/90's. They are the reason you can exchange documents written in multiple languages between machines all over the world without getting complete gibberish on the receiving end. Emoji are just a tiny sideshow, but, sadly, they get all the press because people like tiny pictures, and news providers know articles on Emoji get tons of pageviews and comments.
I clearly remember the hoops I had to jump through in order to get Windows 9x to display Japanese web pages. When I see documents with multiple character types in it I'm still kind of amazed.
 

Yvan256

macrumors 603
Jul 5, 2004
5,032
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Canada
Emojis are dead. It's all about gifs.
I've seen this happening too.

However, sometimes you need to know what movie/TV show/cartoon it's been taken from to understand the context and I feel like the crew of the Enterprise in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Darmok.
 

friednoodles

Suspended
Feb 4, 2014
601
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...but maybe that’s just me.
It's probably not just you, but most people also aren't aware of the scope of the Unicode standard. I'll second what CarlJ just said and give this example:

In the latest version of Unicode, 56 emoji were added. Meanwhile, about 8400 other characters were added for writing systems (e.g. ~7500 were additions for CJK unified ideographs), meaning emoji made up less than 1% of the most recent additions. In total, Unicode currently contains over 136,000 characters for both current and historical writing systems.

So contrary to what seems to be the popular belief around these parts, the Unicode Consortium spends most of its time on things other than emoji :)