New Emojis Reflecting People With Disabilities Coming Later This Year In Update For Smartphones

NEWS: 02.08.19- The Unicode Consortium announced in a blog post on Tuesday 59 new emojis that will be forthcoming in its next release, version 12.0, and a number of those will be themed to reflect people with disabilities which exemplifies the growing trend of making the small digital icons used to express emotions more inclusive for all that use it.

The news came from a story on Fast Company magazine’s website by writer Michael Grothaus who reported that the sixth major update to the official roster of emojis will be coming to your phone by the second half of the year. In addition, Grothaus wrote:

“What’s significant about this latest batch is is its focus on disabilities and gender-related experiences.”

A sample image of emoji #21, “guide dog,” just one of many that reflect people with disabilities among an assortment of 59 new emojis coming to smartphones later this year. (Photo: Unicode Consortium)

From the entire list of new emojis, the Disability themed ones — 15 in all — are as follows:

  • #5: mechanical arm
  • #6: mechanical leg
  • #7: ear with hearing aid
  • #8: deaf person
  • #11: woman in motorized wheelchair
  • #12: man in motorized wheelchair
  • #13: woman in manual wheelchair
  • #14: man in manual wheelchair
  • #15: woman with probing cane
  • #16: man with probing cane
  • #21: guide dog
  • #22: service dog
  • #38: manual wheelchair
  • #39: motorized wheelchair
  • #55: probing cane

The 59 new emojis — which range from smileys and people to food and activities (and more) — will have 171 variants for gender and skin tone making the actual total 230 altogether.

To view a complete list of the new emojis along with sample images for each, go to this webpage: “Emoji Recently Added, v12.0

The consortium noted that these are just sample images and that vendors for mobile phones, PCs, and web platforms will typically use images that fit their overall emoji designs. Furthermore, the new emojis will be available, according to the group, in September / October but some platforms may release them earlier.

As for the Apple angle in all of this, in particular for users of the iPhone, there is no word at this time exactly when it will be available on those smartphone devices, more specifically, the version of the iOS software that it will debut in. Whether in an incremental update to the current version, iOS 12, or in the next major update to the mobile operating system, iOS 13, which is slated for release sometime later this year (expected).

Note from the Author: this article is one of a number of stories with Accessibility or disability related topics as its subject matter which this writer features periodically in this column due to his own disability and, whenever the opportunity arises to share such stories, it is published here.

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