Apple has submitted a proposal for a series of emoji, including a guide dog, prostheses, an ear with hearing aid and people in different types of wheelchairs.
One in seven people around the world has some form of disability, whether that be a physical disability involving vision, hearing, or loss of physical motor skills, or a more hidden, invisible disability.
The current selection of emoji provides a wide array of representations of people, activities, and objects meaningful to the general public, but very few speak to the life experiences of those with disabilities.
Apple say they 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 Apple are proposing aims to provide a wider array of options to represent basic categories for people with disabilities.
For years My Way Access has been highlighting the lack of representation in emoji, avatars and filters across many phones, sites and apps.
I am delighted to see Apple taking the initiative to making people with disabilities feel included and represented on their phones.
Let’s hope others phones, operating systems and websites begin to roll out similar emoji too. We’re here and we will be seen.