Apps are a great tool to help us in our daily tasks. Even entertainment apps. We’ve been developing apps since 2013 and we never stop to learn something new. Emojis Apps were the ones that we fell in love with. They are the new communication tool and we love to send uniques and funny emojis. But for any Indie App Company, building custom emojis has two big issues: the emoji format and the user permissions to work.
Let’s dig into this.
About Emojis Size and image format
We are pretty sure that CollieMoji or ParkerMoji are not the first emoji apps you have downloaded. There is a size difference between those emojis and the classic emojis installed by default in your phone. Meanwhile default emojis are small 😃😁😛😥 and you send them like text characters; the others are big and you send them like any normal image or photo. The reason is really simple: UNICODE.
How default emojis works thanks to Unicode
Computer and phones communicates using numbers. Unicode changed that. It’s a universal character encoding standard that assigns a code to every character and symbol in every language in the world. That helps the communication between users work with letters but also with symbols (♡ ® ª ). Those symbols were the beginning of emojis. Emojis are pictographs (pictorial symbols) that are typically presented in a colorful form, used inline in text (added to Unicode). This is a small sample of all this: For you to be able to send that cute poo emoji where you live in the U.S. to your friend in Japan, who’s using a totally different OS (Operating System), platform and phone, the Unicode Standard had to come into play.
In 2010, hundreds of emoji characters were encoded in the Unicode Standard being some of these additions requested by Google and Apple. Encoding the emojis in the Unicode standard has allowed emoji to become popular outside Japan. A year later, Apple added an official unicode emoji keyboard to iOS; Android did the same. This allowed people to access emoji directly from a keyboard on their phones (the same way you’d switch to a Spanish or Japanese keyboard to access those language-specific characters) and popularized emoji with an entirely new audience.
Same emojis, different style for each platform
Unicode tries to ensure the emoji look the same no matter the platform. The designing of the emojis in Apple and Android are similar and following the Unicode Standards, but in different styles.The emojis are normally encoded in a non-graphical manner during the transmission and if you and and your friend do not use the same software or operating system for your both devices, your friend’s device may visualize the same emoji in a different way. For example: When you send an smiley emoji from your iPhone to android’s friend, he will see the “android ” smiley and vice verse. That applies to any OS.
As emoji became so popular, they also became more plentiful. The Unicode Consortium adds new emojis to it’s approved list each year, gathered from users around the world: flags, family members, plants, animals, food and all kinds of activities. Unicode requires a lengthy submission and approval process and it can take up to two years for an emoji to be in your phone. Only a few of emojis are included each year (remember the contests and announcements on the media). If you want to read more about it, visit the unicode official site here.
So, is not possible to develop an emoji if you are not Unicode?
What happens then with CollieMoji, ParkerMoji and the rest of other indie Emoji Apps? As you read before, if you want to send an emoji in the text (as unicode character) you need to be in the same OS as your friend because if not, your friend will not see the emoji, just a weird character like ☐. Maybe that happened to you sometime.
So the indie emoji company would need to develop a new completely OS (to build a new iOS or Android). And that’s not all. You’ll need to convince the phone companies to include it on their phones and convince the user to get it. Yes, that’s completely crazy for an indie company. Another option is to launch a really popular app like Facebook with million of users using it’s message unique system.
This when the indie creativity makes his appearance. Although is not possible to do it as text character, we’ll get as close as we can making a keyboard and sending the emojis (CollieMojis, ParkerMojis…) through it using the COPY & PASTE feature. The size is bigger because is not possible to include the emojis next to the text. It has to go separately and as an image. The good thing is that the emojis are more detailed, so we took this as advantage. Default emojis are small and need to be simpler, but as our emojis are images, we draw them high quality and handmade.
About Full Access and Permissions
These permissions are related to the emoji development. As we are not unicode and we create a new keyboard with images inside (and not default emojis), all the phones needs a list of requirements in order to let the app works correctly. We explain each of these.
Full Access Keyboard
This requirement is a must when you want to install the keyboard in your phone. It will appears a default pop up for all kind of third party keyboards. We take our users privacy very seriously and allowing full access does NOT give us access to any of your other keyboards, only to this Emoji keyboard. CollieMoji or ParkerMoji will NEVER collect any personal information or transmit anything you type over any network. Basically because we are not a text keyboard and it’s not connected to the internet. You can use it offline. But more important: CollieMoji and ParkerMoji only has images to copy and paste. Also, you can always use the iMessage app if you’re concerned as it doesn’t require full access, share from the app or download all the images to your phone gallery and use them anytime.
Access to your camera / photos / gallery
Why an emoji app needs to access to your photos? That’s scary because as the full permission request, is the same and default message for any app. Our emoji apps needs that permission JUST to save the emojis in your gallery phone. That’s all. We can’t see any of your photos and definitely it’s impossible for us to access to your camera.
Access to your contacts for calls
At this point, you are aware how scary are all of those default pop ups. As it happened with the camera, our emoji apps need that permission only related to the emojis sharing. On this occasion, it’s only to share the emojis with your friends. The only thing we do is the ability to let you the sharing feature inside the app, after tap the emoji to send to any of your contacts through the app. We can’t see any of your personal data.
We are a really small and indie app company. We do this for fun and love to our animals. There is only one way to build dog emojis: do it image. But look on the bright side, how is it possible to do a dog posture in the small emoji default? It would be unrecognizable. Also, we need to obey all the Apple and Google requirements to make our apps work. Some of that rules and requirement are really scary, but they are the same for any app company no matter it’s purpose. We don’t have the resources to access any third data.
If you have any concern, we’ll be happy to answer you on email@example.com