Accessibility Emoji

William_J_G Overington via Unicode unicode at
Thu Mar 29 05:38:51 CDT 2018

I have been thinking about issues around the proposal.

There is a sentence in that document that starts as follows.

> Emoji are a universal language and a powerful tool for communication, ....

It seems to me that what is lacking with emoji are verbs and pronouns.

For example, "to be", "to have" and "to need". The verb "to need" might well be of particular importance in relation to accessibility considerations.

How could verbs be introduced into emoji? The verb "to love" can already be indicated using a heart symbol.

Should abstract designs be used? Or should emoji always be pictographic?

If abstract designs were introduced would it be possible for the standards documents to include the meanings or would the standards documents need to simply use a geometrical description and then the meanings be regarded as a higher level protocol outside of the standard?

For, if abstract emoji were introduced with the intention of them to be of use as verbs in a universal language, it would be of benefit if the meanings were in the standard.

If abstract designs were used then the meanings would need to be learned. Yet if the meanings were universal that could be a useful development.

I have wondered whether verb tenses could be usefully expressed using some of the existing combining accent characters following an emoji verb character..

For example, U+0302 COMBINING CIRCUMFLEX ACCENT to indicate that the verb is in the future tense, U+0304 COMBINING MACRON to indicate that the verb is in the present tense, U+030C COMBINING CARON to indicate that the verb is in the past tense, U+0303 COMBINING TILDE to indicate that the verb is in the conditional tense.

The desirability of pronouns was raised by a gentleman in the audience of a lecture at the Internationalization and Unicode Conference in 2015.

I tried to produce some designs. I could not find a way to do that with conventional illustrative pictures, though I did produce a set of abstract designs that could possibly be useful in application; they could be displayed in colourful emoji style yet also in monochrome without ambiguity. Yet they are abstract designs, so meanings would need to be learned rather than indicated by the picture itself. Yet if the meanings were universal, that could be useful. Should there be abstract emoji or should emoji only be conventional pictures?

William Overington

Thursday 29 March 2018

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