What Is a Toggle?

July 30, 2023 by No Comments

Toggle is a control that allows users to update preferences, settings and other types of information. When a toggle is flipped on it enables a specific state, and when it is flipped off the state is removed. Toggles are used to enable and disable features and services in software and hardware. They are also popular on mobile devices because they take less screen real estate than two radio buttons.

It’s important to ensure that toggles are clearly labeled and deliver immediate results. If it takes more than a few seconds for a change to take effect, you may want to replace the toggle switch with a checkbox. Toggle switches should look like sliders with a clearly defined position and visual cues to make it easy for the user to understand the current state of the switch. Use clear labels (preferably nouns) and limit the number of words to avoid ambiguity.

When a feature is being released it’s wise to test the toggle configuration that will be live in production. This typically includes testing with all toggles that you intend to release flipped On and the fallback configuration where those toggles are flipped Off.

Toggle configuration can be managed via static files but this gets cumbersome at scale and requires that a developer be prepared to follow a pattern of deploying changes just to flip a toggle. To address this many teams choose to move their toggle configuration into some form of centralized store such as an existing application DB. This often accompanies the build-out of some form of admin UI that makes it easier for developers, testers and product managers to manage and view toggle configuration.