One grievance smartphone users have about emoji is the lack of diversity among the picture characters.
Unicode updated last month to include 250 new emoji characters — among them a middle finger, finally! — but emoji users have asked Apple to diversify the still-limited number of emoji, asking specifically for gender and racial diversity.
A free iPhone app that turns your photos into textable emoji stickers, imoji was created by six friends who were sick of emoji’s limitations.
“Turn your favourite selfies, animals, and celebrities into stickers you can text,” says the app’s website. “Discover what’s trending or create your own. Imoji makes your texts more you.”
It’s pretty simple to use: You create an account, upload a photo of yourself (or anything else), and then crop and trim your photo until you’re satisfied with it. You then save your imoji as public or private (when you save it publicly you can add tags so other users can search for it).
Imoji is integrated into your iPhone’s iMessage system, allowing you to send your personalised imoji to friends.
The app is far from perfect. It’s painstaking and time-consuming to trim your photos manually. Additionally, imoji don’t integrate into your emoji keyboard, so you can’t use them with the same frequency and ease as you would the emoji on your iPhone’s keyboard.
And since it’s only available to iPhone users, imoji is missing out on a huge chunk of the smartphone market.
But the app is a step in the right direction towards allowing iPhone users to have the gender and racial representation they have been asking for in emoji. At the very least, imoji allow users to see themselves, quite literally, in emoji form.
To check out imoji, click here.