Apple Proposes a New Line of Accessibility Emoji

It’s time for “greater representation for diversity within the emoji universe,” says Apple. The tech giant recently proposed a new line of emoji to the Unicode Consortium. Unicode is one of the computing industry’s standards for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text. Working with organizations like American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf, Apple proposed a total of 13 new emoji, for a total of 45 when including variants for gender and skin tone. 

To represent individuals who are blind or have low vision, Apple proposes a guide dog with a harness and a person with a white cane, with variants based on gender and skin tone. Two additional characters would be a “deaf sign,” and an ear with a hearing aid, also with skin tone variants. Apple also suggests the addition of a person in a wheelchair, a prosthetic arm, and a prosthetic leg.To represent hidden disabilities, Apple proposes a service dog in a harness, to try to represent autism, anxiety, seizures and PTSD.

The proposed emoji are part of a growing trend toward inclusion and awareness in the tech industry. Next month, Microsoft is going to be rolling out a new line of Xbox Live avatars which includes avatars with wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs.

For a look at the new emoji, click here!