How to Design Effective Toggles

July 6, 2024 by No Comments


A toggle is a switch that has two positions, on and off. It’s the kind of thing you use to alternate between screens as you video chat with two friends at once. In computer technology, toggles are used to turn things on and off, such as setting screen resolutions or disabling features that take up too much computing power.

Toggles can be used for many different purposes, from managing UI responsiveness to switching between light and dark themes in web applications. However, there are a few important design considerations to keep in mind.

The first is that the visual signifier of a toggle must be clear. The second is that the label must be clear about what the toggle control will do when it’s activated, and what state it’s currently in. The good news is that there are a few simple guidelines to follow that can help designers create effective toggles.

For example, using high contrast colors for the toggle states makes it easy for users to see what a toggle’s current state is. Additionally, using labels that are short and direct helps make it clear what the toggle will do when it’s active.

Beyond that it’s also important to consider the way that toggle configuration is managed. Some approaches to this involve hardcoding the toggle’s configuration in static files. This can be useful for certain types of toggles such as Release Toggles which tend to be transitionary in nature and will not stick around long — although it’s important to note that even this approach still requires redeploying code at a granular level if the toggling decision needs to change. Alternatively, it is often better to build out some form of administrative UI to manage feature flags and their configuration, enabling system operators, testers and product managers to view and modify toggles without needing to restart the entire application.