Diversity in emoji icons
Long-awaited racially diverse emoji characters could soon become a reality. In a draft proposal, the Unicode Consortium has laid out a possible method for making characters with a range of skin tones available to users.
Long-awaited racially diverse emoji characters could soon become a reality.
In a draft proposal, the Unicode Consortium has laid out a possible method for making characters with a range of skin tones available to users.
"People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone," the draft says.
Emoji, developed in 1999 and still retaining their Japanese name, were initially supposed to depict characters with inhuman, cartoonlike complexions - for example, a yellow or orange color.
But as the use of emoji has widened to encompass much of the world, there has been increasing pressure to create characters that look like the people who use them.
The Unicode Consortium develops and maintains the software standard for how text and characters (including emoji) are represented in all languages on every device, including mobile phones and desktop computers. And the nonprofit corporation has faced pressure to act on the diversity issue.
The issue can't be fixed unilaterally by device and software makers such as Apple or Microsoft.
In response to inquiries, Katie Cotton, Apple's vice president of worldwide corporate communications, told MTV in a statement this year that the company is working with the Consortium, of which Apple is a part, to update offerings.
The draft says the next update, Unicode 8.0, could include five options for skin tone based on a classification scheme developed by dermatologist Thomas Fitzpatrick.