An American digital marketing expert has used her Linked In presence to highlight the issues that can arise when technologies collide.
In a fascinating post, Meryl Evans explores the problems that can arise from the clunky combination of emojis and screen readers.
Meryl, who is based in Dallas – Forth Worth, acknowledges that people may be surprised to learn that emojis might not be fun for all: “What?! Those cute smiley faces? A problem? Noooooo.”
But she points out that screen readers provide their own audio interpretation, because that’s what they are designed to do.
Among the examples highlighted by Meryl are:
A smile emoji will activate the screen reader to announce: “Smiling.”
The hands together emoji, generally used to show gratitude but perhaps also appropriate to indicate prayer or a high five, comes across as “folded hands.”
Meryl finds that the robotic tone of some screen readers can lead to a party popper emoji coming across as “party pooper”, which of course may cause offence!
She also warns of the risks of mass confusion by using several different emojis one after another: “Remember, the screen reader speaks the full name of the emoji. Imagine what happens with this:
Screen reader: Jane, rose, pizza, sparkles, face blowing a kiss, rocket, globe showing Europe-Africa.”
Meryl’s message is to think twice about emojis and to use them wisely, and looking at the wide range of emojis available it’s easy to see how a listener can lose their way very easily.
Meryl said: “Remember, the screen reader speaks the full name of the emoji and many messages repeat emojis or add a bunch of emojis. I’ve been guilty of this. Ever since I learned this tip, I’ve been careful with emojis.”