Accessibility Emoji

William_J_G Overington via Unicode unicode at
Mon Mar 26 11:51:55 CDT 2018

I have been looking with interest at the following publication.

Proposal For New Accessibility Emoji

by Apple Inc.

I am supportive of the proposal. Indeed please have more such emoji as well.

In relation to the two dogs.

My own (limited) experience of guide dogs for people with a vision disability, just from seeing them in the street and on television is that in the United Kingdom the dogs often have a yellow protective coat with silvery strips on them so that they can be more easily seen. It may also help them being more readily recognised as each being a guide dog. The dogs tend to be of a type of dog of rather wider aspect ratio, if that is the way to put it, than the dog in the sample glyph in the proposal document. The dogs tend to be a creamy yellow colour, though there was a famous guide dog who was all black, famous as the guide dog was allowed to accompany a then Member of Parliament into the House of Commons Chamber in London.

So, while the two rod guide handle, contrasted with a floppy lead, is a good disambiguation guide for the two types of assistance dogs, I suggest that using the presence of what the proposal terms a vest for disambiguation may not be appropriate.

Also the word vest appears to have different meanings in British English and American English.

Maybe jacket might be better choice of word than vest for the standards document.

What about the colour and type of the dog? Perhaps easier to add in now than later?

What about a person with a hidden disability? Many people have a hidden disability yet do not have a service dog as the nature of the particular hidden disability or maybe hidden disabilities does not need the help of a service dog.

Should there be an emoji for a person with a hidden disability? Or maybe more than one such emoji so as to disambiguate the types of hidden disability, always remembering to have an "other hidden disability" emoji so as to include all types of hidden disability?

Those questions, and indeed the whole proposal document, lead to asking for what purposes these emoji are envisioned as becoming used?

For example, a person with a hidden disability might not like to be referred to as such, yet may like to describe himself or herself as having a hidden disability if trying to find appropriate facilities relevant to the particular disability, such as a toilet for a person with a disability with the additional facilities thereof, or seeking access to a chair or a first-aid room, or seeking help for opening a door, or maybe when requesting a special diet, such as a gluten-free diet.

How could the accessibility emoji in the proposal be used in practice?

William Overington

Monday 26 March 2018

More information about the Unicode mailing list