The first generation iPhone was released in 2007 and since then Pakistani users have had a hard time reading Urdu on Apple devices. The main reason being the use of the not so popular Naskh style to display Urdu text.
However, all this changed in 2017 when Apple integrated the Nastaliq font in all its iPhone devices. The man credited with Apple’s move is 40-year-old user interface designer Mudassir Azeemi. For four years Azeemi ran a campaign for the integration of the user-friendly Nastaliq font, which is the standard typeface for the Urdu language.
This was not the first victory under Azeemi’s belt, previously in 210, he had single-handedly created an iOS app which allowed users to type in Urdu. Azeemi’s ‘Urdu Writer’ app added Urdu typing functionality to iPhones long before Apple added it as a default feature.
Azeemi says his passion for the Urdu language developed right after the birth of his first child. As a Pakistani living in America, he wanted to make sure that his kids got the opportunity to master the Urdu language. Speaking to Rabwah Times, he said:
Whenever I get time off I try to think of innovative ways in which the Urdu language can be integrated into the modern world.
The sad bit is that unlike Chinese, Japanese & Russian speakers, Urdu speakers have neglected their language. Speakers of other languages do not even forget to speak it in the U.S. while Urdu speakers choose not to converse in Urdu in their own country.
Azeemi who was born in Karachi moved to the U.S. in 2002 and currently works as a designer at banking giant Well Fargo.