Convert emoticons to icons

Emoticons, such as :) or :( , are often misinterpreted by screen reading software. By converting these items to graphics with an alternative text (such as “smile” or “frown”), a screen reader can process them and present them to the user in a way that makes sense.

Discussion by Disabilities (Benefits & Preferred Behaviors)


This makes it easier for screen reader users to understand emoticons in messages they receive.

Existing Products

These products are not necessarily endorsed by RtF, but represent the range of available options.

Many screen readers offer this feature.

Related Research and Papers

  • H86: Providing text alternatives for ASCII art, emoticons, and leetspeak. W3C WCAG Techniques.
  • Learn more about blindness and legal blindness.