Emojis help Highlanders find council services online

They're the small faces that help us communicate our emotions when using text messaging services, and have become a visual shorthand for the online world.

Emojis help visitors to the Highland Council website find certain pages

Now a Scottish local authority has embraced the rise of the emoji to allow residents to find services on its website more quickly.

From this week, visitors to the Highland Council online portal are able to use emoticons to direct them to webpages.

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An angry face, for example, takes visitors to the complaints page, while a house takes people to the housing section.

A symbol of a cow helps navigate to the section on agricultural licenses.

More emojis are to be introduced at later dates.

Darren MacLeod, digital services manager at the local authority, said: “Although emojis are usually associated with fun, there is a serious message.

“For example, where our web users have literacy challenges or perhaps English is not their first language emoji have become a universal symbol for conveying a feeling or an idea and can help navigating to relevant website pages.

“Also, in a mobile environment or small screen, it helps to be able to add an emoji rather than type a long address.”