What Is a Toggle?

September 10, 2023 by No Comments

The wacky word of the day is toggle—it means to switch or alternate, as in “I toggled between two screens while video chatting with friends.” But toggles are also used on computers and other devices. They’re the little buttons that appear in many software applications with on-off options menus. They’re initially off and when pressed once, the option becomes active. When pressed again, it goes back to the default off state. In software design, toggles are generally considered a good choice because they’re easy for users to understand, even with a visual clue like the color red being associated with on and green with off.

This isn’t always the case though. Many developers and designers don’t know that toggles are cognitively problematic for some users. In particular, they’re difficult for users of assistive technologies to use. This is because the current state of the toggle is determined by context, not by a logical association between the label and the button. For example, if the toggle is labeled right and it looks exactly like most toggles online (leftmost) and is red for off, that doesn’t make much sense to users who use assistive technologies because the proximity principle would suggest that a toggle that looks leftmost would be passive and green, while a toggle that looks rightmost is active and off.

Toggle is a digital trade magazine that highlights the vital role technology plays in businesses and organizations around the world, and the tech leaders who make it all happen. From data privacy and cybersecurity, to cloud solutions and emerging applications like artificial intelligence and machine learning, Toggle explores the diverse and ever-evolving challenges faced by today’s CIOs and CTOs.