Microsoft wants emojis to really start to reflect the emotions of users and wants people to be able to create their own emojis. To allow this to happen, the company says it is open sourcing over 1,500 3D emojis for community creators to edit as they want.
“That’s no small feat when you’re talking about 1,538 emoji, but we wanted to ensure that every creator can build experiences that serve their community’s needs,” says Microsoft Corporate Vice President Design & Research Jon Friedman in the accompanying blog post.
“This especially applies to developers and audiences who haven’t been historically included. A headdress, an Afro, a sari — enabling the world’s majority (aka Black and Brown people) to express themselves how they want, to whom they want, and when they want is not just powerful, but necessary.”
Giving People More Expression
It seems Microsoft’s core goal is to give creators from various cultures or minorities to build emojis that better reflect them and their reality. Speaking to The Verge about the open sourcing, Friedman discusses is how Microsoft Teams will also benefit. He says the company has seen important enterprise meetings include emoji replies, such as heart reactions.
“Facial expression or body language was sort of disconnected from our communications… so we started to have these other rich conversations that were almost as engaged as the video conversations we were having,” Friedman adds. “Emojis started to play a bigger and bigger role… and that enabled people to feel a little more comfortable with authentically reacting to things emotively.”
It is worth noting 1500 3D emojis is a lot, but it is not Microsoft’s whole emoji catalogue. Friedman points out that most omissions are because of trademarks or legal reasons.
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