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Accessibility-Themed Emoji Could Be Coming Soon

Photo: Unicode Consortium

We’re still waiting on 2018’s new emoji — bagels! Flat shoes! Redheads! Yarn! — to drop, but Apple is already on to the next batch. The company announced on Friday that it has proposed 13 new, accessibility-themed emoji to the Unicode Consortium. “Apple is requesting the addition of emoji to better represent individuals with disabilities. Currently, emoji provide a wide range of options, but may not represent the experiences of those with disabilities,” the company explained in a release. “Diversifying the options available helps fill a significant gap and provides a more inclusive experience for all.”

The 13 proposed emoji. Photo: Unicode Consortium

The new emoji include a man and a woman making the sign for “deaf” — Apple notes “no sign is 100% universal,” but that it chose the most widely used option — as well as an ear with a hearing aid and people using canes. There are also people in manual and mechanical wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, and a guide dog in a harness. Apple says it worked with organizations like the American Council of the Blind and the National Association of the Deaf in the development process. Apple also noted that the 13 proposed emoji are “not meant to be a comprehensive list of all possible depictions of disabilities,” and hopes to develop more in the future, assuming these are approved by Unicode when the organization meets later this spring.

Accessibility-Themed Emoji Could Be Coming Soon