What Is a Toggle?
Togle is a term used in both computer technology and hardware to describe a switch that has two positions, on or off. It can also be used to describe a fastener, such as a toggle pin that passes through the eye of a cord or drawstring.
The term can be found in almost every software application, as well as in some hardware devices. For example, the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys on the keyboard are toggles for those functions; that is, they turn on when pressed and turn off when not pressed.
The word toggle is derived from the verb togle, meaning “switch or alternate” in figurative usage. It can also be used to describe putting an object in a certain state, such as changing the color of an icon on an app’s interface or turning on or off a light bulb.
For most purposes, a toggle always enables people to control the state of something — like a setting, view, or content. That means a toggle should use different appearances to indicate its states, and it should clearly identify what the state it controls affects.
In general, a toggle should look like a slider or similar control and should imply movement when the state changes. This makes it less likely that users will get confused and confuse the toggle with a button that looks like it’s on or off but actually does the opposite.
A toggle should be transitionary by nature, and it should not stay on the screen for too long. For instance, a Release Toggle should not stay on the screen for more than a week or so, although product-centric toggles might need to remain in place for longer periods.