Apple proposes 13 new emoji that represent people with disabilities

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Apple’s proposed a new set of disability-inclusive emoji.Image: mashable composite: apple/emojipediaBy Nicole Gallucci2018-03-23 19:38:07 UTC

Apple thinks it’s high time to make even more inclusive emoji.
In a March proposal, the tech company requested that Unicode Consortium — the organization responsible for our emoji — create characters that accurately represent people with disabilities.
“Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities,” the company wrote in its proposal. “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”

Apple worked with community organizations like American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the National Association of the Deaf to create 13 new emoji representative of people with disabilities.
They wanted to ensure that members of the Deaf and Blind communities and people who use wheelchairs can be properly depicted, and also pushed to include emoji of hearing aides, prosthetic limbs, and even service animals. Here are the proposed images:
Person in mechanized wheelchair

Person in manual wheelchair

In the proposal, Apple explained it made the decision to include both manual and electric wheelchairs to promote inclusion. The company also didn’t want to insinuate either wheelchair is better or worse for mobility.
Mechanical or prosthetic arm and leg

Deaf sign

Ear with hearing aid

Person with white cane

Guide dog with harness

Service dog with vest and leash

Apple also noted that this list is meant to be a starting point, rather than a “comprehensive list of all possible depictions of disabilities,” but the company hopes the proposal will inspire increased diversity in emoji and spark a global conversation about inclusion.
“Adding emoji emblematic to users’ life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability,” Apple said in its proposal. “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.”
Unicode is currently considering the proposal ahead of a committee meeting next month. If approved, the characters could potentially be included in the 2019 Emoji 12.0.

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