Using Toggles in Your Site or App

May 2, 2024 by No Comments


Feature toggles are a powerful user-interface tool to allow users to change preferences and settings. But as with any UI tool it’s important to understand the use cases and context before implementing them in your site or app. Toggles are most effective when they provide clear visual indication of their state, use standard design elements, and have a direct effect without the need to click Save or other input. They are also most effective when they are applied to simple settings that have a clear default value and require no ongoing maintenance, such as setting a background image or enabling a notification service.

Generally, toggles should be deployed for short periods of time. While it’s tempting to put large swaths of your application under control of a toggle, doing so will likely lead to complexity that makes your product harder to manage and debug.

Savvy teams view their inventory of toggles as carrying a cost and seek to keep it as low as possible. For this reason, they tend to be proactive in removing toggles that are no longer needed by adding a task to the team’s backlog for toggle removal or building this process into their management platform.

Using toggles allows teams to release features for market testing that they would have otherwise developed on code branches under more traditional waterfall development models. This supports agile processes and enables companies to meet their delivery targets. However, be careful to use toggles sparingly and make sure you have a clear process in place to prune the inventory when it’s no longer needed.