How to Use Toggles in Web Design

January 5, 2024 by No Comments

The word toggle is a verb meaning “switch back and forth between settings or programs.” It can also refer to the physical switch used on keyboards and some machines: pressing Caps Lock or Num Lock makes that function toggle (turn on or off). It’s also commonly used in computer software to describe an on-off command, such as turning off the screen saver.

Toggles are heavily used in modern user interfaces. They are simple and easy to use but should only be applied when it makes sense for the user to choose between two opposing states, such as “on” or “off.”

When using toggles, designers should always consider their users’ needs. This includes providing direct labels, utilizing standard visual design, and delivering immediate results. They should also take into account contrast and cultural differences when deciding on color for toggle switches.

In most cases, a toggle should be marked up as a button> and use the aria-pressed attribute to indicate its current state. However, if a toggle is a slider, it should be marked up as a slider> and should utilize its own on and off visual cues. For example, the toggle icon should be inverted when a slider is disabled. This allows the user to easily determine if a feature is not available for them to use. This approach is recommended by Google and others as it provides a better user experience. It is also easier to migrate content in the future as these markup conventions are more consistent across browsers.