Cognitive Issues With Toggle Controls

December 18, 2023 by No Comments


Toggle is a term that describes the ability to switch between different settings or views of content, such as the way you can toggle between stream and map view in YouTube when watching a video. In computing, toggles are often implemented as a simple button with an on/off state, although they can also be used to represent other types of options such as radio buttons or checkboxes.

A toggle is a control that has an immediate effect without the need to click on Save or Submit, which is why they are commonly found in the Options menus of many applications. However, it is important to note that there are a number of cognitive issues with toggles that need to be taken into account when designing them.

Unlike radio buttons, which use color to indicate their active state, toggles don’t rely on this method, so the designer must find other visual cues to communicate their current state to the user. This can be tricky as it is difficult to find cues that are both intuitive and effective at the same time.

In our tests, we found that toggles that used a more pronounced font size difference between the active and inactive half performed the best. Conversely, those that used a smaller font size difference performed the worst. The latter toggles showed that users were unable to perceive which half of the toggle was active, and this resulted in a significantly higher error rate and confidence score.