Accessibility and Release Toggle

October 1, 2023 by No Comments


A toggle is a user interface control that helps users update preferences, settings or other types of information. It typically uses a simple design that lets people choose between two opposing values that affect the state of content or a view.

When using toggles it’s important to consider accessibility because they can often be confusing to users with screen readers or other assistive technologies. One problem is that they use the proximity principle – that the leftmost toggle will be the active one and the rightmost the inactive – which can cause confusion for users who need to read labels in order to understand the behavior of a toggle. Another problem is that they rely heavily on color to communicate states. However, colors can be ambiguous because not everyone sees them the same way. For instance, green can be confused with red because of red/green color blindness. Additionally, designers often add a visual cue such as embossment to help users discern the difference between the active and inactive state of a toggle. But our research has shown that embossment doesn’t work very well and is often not effective at all.

Savvy teams think of their Release Toggle inventory as carrying a carrying cost and try to minimize the number of toggles in their codebase by regularly removing feature flags that are no longer needed. They also often use “expiration dates” so that a toggle will be automatically removed in a future version of the application unless someone manually overrides it. In addition, many teams will build out some kind of centralized toggle configuration system such as an existing application DB or some type of admin UI in order to make it easier for testers and other team members to manage feature flags in their production environments.