What Is a Toggle?

June 6, 2023 by No Comments

A toggle is a control that has two positions, on and off. It is a common element in software and hardware where the user needs to update preferences, settings, or other types of information. When used well, toggles help users navigate and update their preferences with confidence, and can be a great way to improve usability. However, it is important to evaluate the context and use of toggles as they can create confusion if not used consistently or in a meaningful way. Toggle switches should be clearly labeled, designed with standard visual design, and deliver immediate results.

When creating a toggle it is important to consider contrast, cultural norms, and the meaning of on/off. Using a high-contrast color for the on position can be helpful in making it clear to users whether or not the switch is currently on. Also, evaluating the societal and cultural implications of on/off is important to understand how the usage of the word toggle may impact your users.

Finally, it is important to consider the configuration of the toggle and how you will manage its state in your codebase. Managing toggle configuration via static files can become cumbersome at scale and requires a pattern of re-deploying to test a change (for less dynamic toggles at least). Many teams choose to move toggle configuration into an existing application DB or some other form of centralized storage. Additionally, many teams build out some form of admin UI which allows system operators and testers to view and modify the toggle configuration.