Using Toggles Properly
A toggle is a user-interface element that enforces a mutually exclusive state — ‘on’ or ‘off’. When used properly, toggle switches can be a powerful way to update preferences, settings, and other types of information. But it’s important to remember that they must be easy for users to understand and deliver immediate results. To do this, toggles should provide clear labels, use standard visual design, and be implemented consistently.
Toggles are often used for setting options and preferences in software or hardware. For example, keyboards have toggles that turn the Caps Lock or Num Lock function on or off. The same concept can also be seen in options menus in most applications or services.
When choosing to use a toggle, be sure to choose a color that signals the current state of the switch. Also consider societal and cultural implications for the choice of color. Finally, be sure to include a description of the switch’s current state in its label. This is an especially important consideration when using toggles to set privacy settings such as cookies.
When using toggles in production it’s critical to have a consistent and scalable way to manage their configuration. There are several different ways to do this ranging from the simple but less dynamic approach of commenting with #ifdefs through to more advanced solutions that require you to deploy code in order to change the toggle’s configuration. This can be challenging to do at scale and can impact the all-important feedback loop that CI/CD provides.