Fascinating look at how emojis can be interpreted differently by recipients because of a lack of standardisation in design. I’d also guess there was a lack of user testing too, to check if the intent of the designer and the brief is reflected in the reaction of the user.
Thanks to the variety of platform standardization, emoji you send may look different to the intended recipient. To find out how the variations impact the way people interpret emoji and conversation, researchers at the University of Minnesota’s GroupLens research lab conducted a survey using 22 human-like emoji across Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and LG platforms. Researchers asked 334 participants five questions, including what they considered the sentiment to be (positive or negative on a scale of -5 to 5), and when they would use the emoji in conversation.
The research was published in the paper “Blissfully happy” or “ready to fight”: Varying Interpretations of Emoji.
Researchers found that 40 percent of emoji tested had a “sentiment misconstrual score” of 2 or more, so when two people look at the same emoji, the sentiment disagreement between them would be greater than or equal to 2. And even people within the same platform wouldn’t agree on the whether the emoji leaned positive or negative—Apple’s in-platform sentiment misconstrual was 1.96, while Google’s was 1.79.