If you've been struggling to find the right emoji, it seems you are not alone. New research by Adobe shows Australians want their emojis to better reflect an inclusive and diverse society.
The Adobe survey of more than 7,000 frequent emoji users worldwide found that only half of Australians surveyed (or 57%) thought the current selection of emojis properly reflected their own identities. What’s more, the study found an overwhelming majority of Australians (85%) believed the emoji selection needs to be changed to be more inclusive of emoji users.
Among the main findings of the study, that asked difficult questions about skin tone, age and body type, was the belief by 51% of Australians that emojis should better reflect their personal identities.
The study reports 37% of Australians surveyed believe there are currently not enough options to reflect users’ cultures, while 41% said emojis should better reflect users’ ages.
Skin tones got a bad wrap too: 38% of Australians believed there are currently not enough skin tone options to accurately reflect their own racial identities, while 51% believed that using a skin tone modifier that does not match a person’s racial identity is insensitive and uncomfortable.
When asked what kinds of emojis they would add to the emoji line-up, 43% of Aussies said they would change emojis to include different hairstyles and hair colours, while 33% said they would include a greater selection of body types and emoji accessories.
Emoji’s are an enigma. On face value they are just tiny images that bring a little levity to our messages. On the other hand, these pictures can have a deep symbolic meaning and can even reflect on societal norms. To that point, 72% of Australians surveyed who believed emojis can help spark positive conversations about cultural and societal issues, including racial equality.
Jennifer Lee, cofounder of Emojination, an organisation campaigning for a more inclusive emoji line-up said, “Adobe’s support has been critical to Emojination‘s five-year push for more inclusive and representative emoji, as it allows us to provide support to the passionate individuals who are pushing to see themselves and their cultures represented, which has resulted in emoji for sari, hijab, boomerang, pinata, matryoshka doll, long drum, arepa and bubble tea."