Thank you for your post with some valuable tips. @TyAlevizos had also shared a sample app based on special character smileys in enums a week or two ago.
Thanks to all those useful inputs (including initial post by @Gerald_Kariuki) , I too dabbled last couple of weeks in Unicode or special characters and share what I experienced.
Incidentally, Google Docs does have bunch of unicode characters and even there you can search the unicode by drawing the character. The option in Google Docs is available under Insert --> Special Characters
I believe , with AppSheet now being part of Google cloud, using the special characters from Google Docs could be natural option. One can copy those characters from Google docs and use in Enum etc. simply like normal characters.
I believe the unicode characters could be nicely used in Yes/ No enums , star ratings and possibly in other enum options ( an example of vehicles and grades is shown below) Even the RYGB status below is consisting of unicode characters for those colored circles.
A table summary view is shown below. All fields except Status description are composed of unicode characters.
Below is the forms view
Since these special characters are treated simply like other text characters by the computer systems, we can directly use them in expressions that is not possible with image icons. For example, in the above image, the Status description column’s expression is
IFS([Status]=“”, “Before time”, [Status]=“”,“On time”, [Status]=“”, “30 minutes delay”, [Status]=“”, “1 hour delay”)
I could not think of uses other than in enum buttons. I believe may be we can have more meaningful use in dashboards. The reason being in summary /detail/ form views etc, intricate characters such as truck, minivan , pizza , pasta may not look good due to small sizes. We may to some extent take care of this problem by having format rule to increase their size in Enums etc.
Finally some earlier mobile OS versions may not show all the characters.
Hope this observations help in some way and community colleagues will come out with more imaginative use cases.