For as many emoji as there are, and there are a lot, one demographic has been largely ignored, and Apple wants to change this. This past week, the iPhone-maker submitted 13 new accessibility emoji, 43 when you take into account the different skin tone options, to make these emoji standard across the board.
Among the 13 emoji is a service dog, person in a wheelchair, person in a mechanical wheelchair, person with a cane, prosthetic leg and person signing. Apple worked in conjunction with American Council of the Blind, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation and the National Association of the Deaf to create the new emoji.
In its proposal, Apple broke down the emoji into four categories: Blind and Low Vision, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Physical Motor and Hidden Disabilities. The new accessibility emoji aren’t all-encompassing, but it’s a good first step to take into account people with disabilities. Up until now, there are have been zero emoji that address accessibility.
The process to approve new emoji takes many months. Once they are approved, Emojipedia passes the format to companies like Apple, Google and Samsung to incorporate the new emoji into their emoji dictionary.
If approved by the Unicode Technical Committee, the new emoji could start rolling out in early 2019 as part of Emoji 12.0.