Apple announced that it’s petitioning Unicode, the consortium that decides what emojis are official, to include accessibility-friendly emojis in the next release.
There are 13 proposed emojis, representing people in wheelchairs, those with hearing aids, service dogs and prosthetic limbs. Apple worked with organisations including the American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association for the Deaf to ensure the representations are fair and accurate.
The set of proposed emojis are:
- Guide dog with harness: A guide dog shown with a harness, for people who are blind or who have low vision
- Person with white cane: A person shown with a probing cane and coded for gender and skin colour variations
- Ear with hearing aid: Since a hearing aid on its own might not be visible at emoji sizes, with skin colour variations
- Deaf sign: An index finger pointing to the cheek, representing the ‘deaf sign’ gesture in American Sign Language, with gender and skin colour variations
- Person in mechanised wheelchair: A person in an electric wheelchair with gender and skin colour variations
- Person in a manual wheelchair: With gender and skin colour variations
- Mechanical or prosthetic arm and leg: A mechanical or prosthetic version of the Flexed Biceps emoji and new Leg emoji
- Service dog with vest and leash: To distinguish between a guide dog for low vision, this one is intended for detection of seizures or other “hidden disabilities.”