Emojis are ubiquitous in modern communication but lack adequate representation of diverse individuals. To address the need for more inclusion and diversity, the Unicode Consortium’s Emoji Subcommittee advocates expanding the current global emoji library. As a result, other organizations are determining how they can help make this goal a reality.
These organizations focus on expanding and diversifying emoji to better serve their global user base. Through digital communication tools, they want to ensure that all cultures and ethnicities can communicate with one another regardless of background or nationality. Organizations understand that emoji communicate messages in addition to words, and strive to represent everyone equally.
This article will explore the efforts of various companies and organizations working towards making emoji more reflective of our world by providing examples from Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google Chrome.
The Need for More Diverse and Inclusive Emoji
With the rise of emoji as a part of our everyday communication, ensuring they are inclusive and reflective of all people’s experiences is becoming increasingly important. To that end, the new Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee is working to make emoji more diverse and inclusive.
In this article, we’ll explore the need for more diverse and inclusive emoji, and what other organizations are doing to help make this happen.
The new Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee is advocating for more diverse and inclusive emoji
The UNICODE Consortium, the leading international organization concerned with text and emoji technical standards, has taken a progressive stance towards ensuring the development of more diverse and inclusive emoji. The new Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee advocates for more diverse and inclusive emoji. In addition, it is working to create a better representation of marginalized individuals who often don’t feel seen in traditional language.
Emoji are used by millions of people worldwide every day, but there remain few options that accurately reflect women, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with disabilities, ethnic groups or religious minorities. To offer more suitable choices for a broader range of users, the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee has just released its first package of proposed design alterations for 2018.
This initial release notably features redesigned professions — such as a female police officer or male nurse — and broader additions such as modified skin tones and hair colors to represent different cultures. Additionally included is an effort to incorporate even more characters into emojis that recognize the existence of non-binary gender identities.
These designs will go through multiple review stages before officially being released this spring on all major platforms including Apple, Google and Twitter.
It is clear now that we are on our way to having an expanded collection of symbols representing all walks of life – something which was sorely missing from previous collections until now! By instituting these changes we can help bring about advances in representation for all members of our global community.
The Role of the Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee
The Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee is a high-level position in the Unicode Consortium established in 2010 to guide and manage the most popular standard for digital character representation. The consortium’s primary mission has been to manage coding standards across international languages and other types of characters that appear on digital devices such as phones, computers, tablets, and wearable devices.
The role of the Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee is to advocate for more diverse and inclusive emoji that reflect the wide range of cultures, genders, skin tones, religions, abilities and other human differences that give us all our unique identities. This involves working with a global network of organizations and volunteers to develop new emoji standards sensitive to different cultural norms while inspiring users worldwide to create meaningful experiences through this medium. It also involves pushing for changes in existing emoji sets and proposing changes so these sets can be made more reflective of societies worldwide.
The position also advises teams at organizations who are developing emoji sets so these sets are better aligned with Unicode standards; participates in community-led initiatives related to emoji development; reviews proposed emojis; advocates for ethical considerations when designing emojis; leads research initiatives related to internationalization or localization requirements; provides input on technical specifications needed by software vendors who may need assistance with understanding some areas of content generation or management; consults on issues such as data encoding compatibility, character mapping reliability and usability studies necessary for successful adoption rate levels when implementing new features into platforms with an international reach such as WhatsApp or Twitter.
What Other Organizations Are Doing
More and more organizations are recognizing the need for increased representation when it comes to emoji to create a more diverse and inclusive environment.
One of the most recent developments is the appointment of the new Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee, and their mission to make emoji more diverse and inclusive.
This article will explore the work this organization and other organizations are doing to promote and encourage diversity and inclusion in emoji.
Apple’s Proposal to Add 13 New Emoji Representing Disability
In Apple’s proposal to the Unicode Consortium, they suggest adding 13 new emoji representing disability. The emoji set includes people using sign language, a cane or wheelchair and those with hearing aids, prosthetics and various other medical conditions. The proposal was put forward by the new Head of the Unicode Emoji Subcommittee for additional representation in responses to popular cultural trends, films and TV shows that feature characters with disabilities attempting to create an inclusive environment among all emoji users.
Apple’s proposal also highlights a need to create more diverse options beyond existing skin tone variations; this could include more blended eye colors and hair textures. Additionally, Apple suggests that new options should be added for different genders (a man in a wheelchair & a woman using sign language), incorporating signs within emoji conversations that are not only customized for people who have hearing impairments but also help symbolize some of the major symbols we come across daily. This can be seen in their proposed kid-friendly images such as: “a baby bottle (bottle-feeding)” & “an orange heart signifying love/support/friendship”.
Finally, as accessibility is an ever-important part of iOS features; these new proposed emoji are designed with both sighted & low vision users in mind. They consist of outlines around each symbol that enhance visibility or help represent movement or actions described by each emoji (for example: “a wheelchair racing flag” would appear in bright colors). In keeping up with their commitment to addressing all accessibility needs, Apple has proposed these additional symbol sets knowing they will benefit millions worldwide.
Microsoft’s Proposal to Add 11 New Emoji Representing Gender-Neutral People
Microsoft recently joined the efforts to make emoji more diverse and inclusive. The company submitted a proposal with the Unicode Consortium. This California-based non-profit organization decides which new emojis are added to our mobile and computer keyboards or applications, advocating for 11 new gender-neutral emojis. The proposal, submitted in July 2019, was supported by Microsoft’s diverse team of designers and engineers and recommended “11 core designs for encoding as gender neutral default presentation” as well as 19 additional variations on those 11 core designs which could be based on skin color, hair styles or clothing.
The proposed gender-neutral emoji include people of color represented in various forms: sitting down, standing up with hands crossed or bent at the elbows; wearing wigs; and expressing different emotions. Microsoft also recommended including some existing emojis as default genderless variations across all emoji displays. These include human emojis such as walking/running person (U+1F6B6), adult (U+1F9D4) and face with monocle (U+1F9D0).
The proposal emphasizes the need for greater representation of people in uiversal emoji language: “Emojis are symbols used around the world that enable anyone to communicate expressions within digital media […] so it is naturally important to incorporate diversity into them to accurately dispaly how today’s society looks” Microsoft has taken an important step toward making our digital languages more competete and inclusive to everyone.
Google’s Proposal to Represent Different Skin Tones
Google is advocating for the representation of different skin tones in emojis. They proposed to create a library of emojis with a range of skin tones, similar to how some individuals have created anime characters. By leveraging this existing Unicode Subcommitee structure for animation, Google proposed that emoji with text based modifiers would be used to indicate the hue of an emoji character from light to dark. This proposed solution is considered technologically feasible and artistically feasible & cost effective.
The company suggested a set of “six key tone swatches” base don Fitzpatrick scale proposed by dermatologists which would provide enough shade variation for most people across different skin tones looking for a specific match or specified range, including the “popular yellow colour for Asian communities”. For those wanting more exactness Google also supports adding single-digit precision to these tone swatches, such as four (darker orange) outages instead of three (yellow).
In addition to creating more inclusive and diverse emojis, Google’s proposal stresses its commitment to make emoji accessible to everyone while simplifying their remapping efforts using five factors: expressiveness, accessibility, time and effort required by implementors, combining multiple modifiers into one symbol while avoiding visually implausible combinations.
In conclusion, organizations worldwide are taking action to make emoji more inclusive and diverse for all users. The new Head of the UNICODE Emoji Subcommittee advocates for more diverse and inclusive emoji representing a wider range of gender, skin tones, ages, religions, physical abilities, and occupations. At a national level, various governments are including guidelines in their emoji standards outlining how to provide users with an experience tailored to their needs. Companies like Twitter and Apple are also developing proposals for new or redesigned emoji to help ensure everyone can access expressive communication tools.
By taking these steps towards greater equity and representation in digital communication technology, we could create a more connected global community where people can communicate fully regardless of their differences.