What Is a Toggle?
Toggle is a type of user-interface element that lets people change the state of content or a view. Toggles are typically used to control settings and preferences. They can have different appearances for each state and provide clear visual cues to help users identify the current state. They can be used alone or in conjunction with other controls like checkboxes and radio buttons. When used correctly, toggles can be an effective way to manage complex settings that require immediate action.
Toggles are used in almost every aspect of computing when a setting has more than one outcome. This includes hardware, such as the caps lock and num lock keys on laptops, as well as software. In general, toggles are used to switch between two mutually exclusive states. For example, turning on “Bluetooth” will turn on the speaker, while leaving it off will turn it off. In contrast, the toggles used to download videos in Netflix are not used for this purpose, as toggling downloads on and off has no effect on the stream or map views.
However, toggles are notoriously confusing for some users because of their reliance on color to communicate state. To avoid confusion, designers often use high-contrast colors to distinguish the different states. Nevertheless, this practice can be problematic for users with color blindness or low vision. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the societal and cultural implications of your use of toggles to make sure they are effective and understandable for your target audience.