Making Open Work
May 8–9, 2017: Training & Tutorials
May 10–11, 2017: Conference
Austin, TX

The power and responsibility of Unicode adoption

Katie McLaughlin (KatieConf)
1:45pm2:25pm Thursday, May 11, 2017
Location: Ballroom G
Level: Beginner
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 2 ratings)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Web developers, platform administrators, and members of the community

What you'll learn

  • Learn the history of emoji and the differing cultural interpretations of emoji
  • Explore tools to help both client- and server-side rendering of emoji


Communication is difficult. Whether between humans, machines, or a combination of the two, trying to translate meaningful information is a lossy process.

Converting programming languages to use the new Unicode standard is hard, but once it’s in place, you get this marvelous feature-add: emoji compatibility. No longer do we have to make faces with symbols or use platform-specific emoticons. Rejoice in the extended character set.

Emoji have a rich history as a way to allow the communication of ideas in a reduced amount of data. They date back to a time where this was important: SMS communications in Japan. However, as social networks feverishly try to clamber onto this bandwagon, their implementations of the standard create issues with miscommunication that aren’t possible with a 12×12 pictograph.

Katie McLaughlin discusses the history of emoji, cross-platform adoption, the Unicode standard, and emoji accessibility in web applications. ✨

Photo of Katie McLaughlin

Katie McLaughlin


Katie McLaughlin has worn many different hats over the years, including a software developer in many languages, a systems administrator for multiple operating systems, and a speaker on many different topics. She’s currently a core developer on the BeeWare project, organizer of KatieConf, and a former board member for Linux Australia. When she’s not changing the world, she enjoys making tapestries, cooking, and seeing just how well various application stacks handle emoji.