Are your emojis conveying the right message?

4 min read
updated Jan 10, 2018
Are your emojis conveying the right message?

I’ve mentioned in the past how you can use emojis to promote your Shopify products.

Well, I recently received an email from reader David with this follow-up question:

Do the emojis look the same on every device ?

This is a great question so I thought I’d share the answer here for others to benefit.

The short answer is no emojis do not look the same on every device.

But does this matter?

Emojis can be great for conveying a message more clearly than just words alone. But are you sure the message being received is the one you intended?

In today’s post, I would like to discuss making sure your emojis are conveying the right message in your Shopify product marketing and other forms of communication.

We’ll discuss:

  • Why do people see different emojis?
  • Does it matter if people see different emojis?
  • What emojis are people actually seeing?

Why do people see different emojis?

The reason people see different emojis is based on how emojis work behind the scenes.

When you send an emoji to someone, you see a picture of the emoji. But what is actually being sent is a special character that represents this emoji.


So in the above example, you would see the smiley face emoji. But what is actually being sent is this unicode character U+236A.

These unicode emoji characters are used instead of images because they are much easier to send and receive. They are also easier to insert into web pages such as within your Shopify theme.

On the receiving end, when someone receives the U+236A emoji character, their phone or web browser will detect that this is an emoji and show the corresponding smiley face emoji.

Therein lies the problem. Each device or browser has their own unique library of emoji images.

So an emoji displayed on an Android device will not look the same as one on an Apple device.

Here is an example of the grimacing emoji as seen on five different devices:


Does it matter if people see different emojis?

So we’ve established emojis may not look the same.

But does it matter?

Since emojis don’t look the same, it is possible some emojis convey a slightly different message.

For example, the Apple emoji for the “grinning face with smiling eyes” emoji used to be mistaken for the grimacing face emoji as seen here:


As a result, it was common for an Apple user to think a message was negative due to the grimace rather than positive due to the grinning.

This could lead to all sorts of confusion. If you are interested in reading more on this topic you can check out this research done on the potential for miscommunication with emoji.

Note: Apple changed the grinning face with smiling eyes emoji in IOS 10 so it no longer resembles the grimacing face. Not everyone was a fan of this change though as seen by this petition to bring it back.

What emojis are people actually seeing?

If you want to be sure you sending the right emoji, and therefore the right message, there is a simple way for you to do so.

You can double check how your emojis will look before you use them.

How do you do this?

You can use this handy emoji list to see the full list of emojis and how they will look on the various devices and applications.

By using this list you can rest assured that your emoji messaging will be received as intended.

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You can use emojis to help send a more convey a message more effectively than just words alone.

Just keep in mind that emojis will look different to people based on the device or application they are using to view them.

If you’d like, you can always double check how your emojis will look across devices to make sure your message is clear.

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