After my blog about receiving emails created with iPhone dictation – with no punctuation – I received many emails from visually impaired people who take offense when others do not use punctuation. I’ll be publishing some of them. This one was written by Dr. Katherine Schneider. Her full article is at: https://kathiecomments.wordpress.com
Here’s an excerpt:
What would you think if you heard “128522;” in an email?
Would you have guessed it’s a smiley face? In some speech programs instead of being read as “128522;” it reads “symbol 74 field”. Now consider 🙂, which is read as “colon right paren” The student who reads to me is shaking her head, trying to explain to me the different kinds of smiley faces.
The program on my desktop computer called JAWS that reads aloud everything on the screen reads “bang” when I type an exclamation point. Now enter the world of emoticons and emoji’s. Emoticons have been around since 1998 and now there are over 1,800 emoji available. For those of us from before emoji times, an emoji is a small digital image used to express an idea, emotion, etc. in electronic communication. Emoticons are the symbols like the smiley face that started this rant.
On the desktop computer that I’m using which has Windows10, there is no easy way to use emoji’s so I’m stuck with emoticons. I can search out the emoticon of choice from Wikipedia, if I’ve got all day and copy it into my email. Or I can write the words in parenthesis and hope sighted readers imagine it (winking face).
Using my iPhone with Voiceover turned on, the world of emoji’s opens up to me. They are labeled with text so I can dig through the category “animals” for example to try to find an emoji of my beloved crow. Unfortunately, they are not in alphabetical order.
So those of us who are disabled don’t feel left out, earlier this year Apple proposed 13 new disability emoji. The proposed emoji’s include an ear with a hearing aid, a person in a wheelchair, a prosthetic arm, a service dog, and a person with a cane. So far I haven’t been able to find these labeled so voiceover will read them. But I’m working on it!