Tech companies are trying to make emojis a little more inclusive. It took way too long for them to adopt emojis with different skin tones, and emojis that are more gender-inclusive. Now, it’s taking steps to make emojis a little more inclusive of those with disabilities.
The new emojis include service dogs, people with canes, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and more, as first reported by BuzzFeed News. It’s important to note that the new emojis won’t show up in your iPhone just yet — instead, they have simply been proposed by Apple to the Unicode Consortium, the group that governs emojis. According to Apple, the emojis were developed in partnership with the American Council of the Blind, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
“This new set of emoji that we are proposing aims to provide a wider array of options to represent basic categories for people with disabilities,” Apple said in its proposal. “This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all possible depictions of disabilities, but to provide an initial starting point for greater representation for diversity within the emoji universe.” You can see the newly proposed emojis for yourself below.
New emojis are proposed to the Unicode Consortium pretty regularly, and they’re not always accepted. It’s hard to see why Apple’s newly proposed emoji wouldn’t be accepted, but they still have to be reviewed by the Unicode Technical Committee. Once they’re reviewed (and approved), it’s up to phone manufacturers like Apple and Google to come up with their own designs for their particular platform — part of the reason why emojis look different depending on whether you use an iPhone or an Android phone.
One-hundred and fifty-seven new emojis are actually set to make their way to phones sometime in August, including emojis of people with red hair, more skin tone options, female superheroes, and pirate flags. In recent years, there has been a much bigger push to introduce more inclusive emojis, which has led to a range of new offerings. Hopefully, tech companies will continue to develop inclusive emojis that represent different people from all walks of life.