Apple has proposed 13 new emojis that aim to better represent people with disabilities.
In a letter to the Unicode Consortium, the organization responsible for managing any new emojis, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant introduces emojis that depict people who suffer from blind and low vision, deaf and hard of hearing, physical motor disabilities or hidden disabilities like autism and PTSD.
These disabilities are represented through emojis featuring people in wheelchairs (both of the standard and motorized variety), prosthetic arms and legs, service dogs, people walking with a white cane, people pointing to their ears (to represent deafness) and hearing aids.To develop these emojis, Apple worked with a number of organizations that represent people with disabilities, including the American Council of the Blind, Cerebral Palsy Foundation and National Association for the Deaf.
“Adding emoji emblematic to users’ life experiences helps foster a diverse culture that is inclusive of disability,” Apple wrote 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.”
Apple acknowledged in its proposal that the potential emojis are not intended to be comprehensive list of people with possible disabilities, stating that it hopes they can be used as a starting point.
Next month, the Unicode Technical Committee will meet to vote on whether to approve Apple’s proposed emojis. If approved, the characters would get shortlisted for Emoji 12.0, which set to release in March 2019.
Back in February, Unicode announced that 157 new emoji are coming later this year, including ones representing redheads, superheroes and kangaroos.