What Is a Toggle?

January 26, 2024 by No Comments


A toggle is a user-interface component that allows users to update preferences, settings, and other types of information. It is found in almost all aspects of computing when there is an options or preferences list. Toggles are essentially glorified checkboxes and must be used with care to avoid creating visual confusion. When used correctly, they can enhance the ease with which users can update their preference or settings. Toggle switches should be clearly labelled and have the option of displaying the current state on the screen along with its corresponding value (e.g. “On” and “Off”).

The best performing toggle in the test showed a larger difference between its active and inactive states (as opposed to the other two which had smaller differences). In addition, it used a more pronounced and saturated color for its active state which helps differentiate it from the darker inactive color and help reduce cognitive load when switching between states. In general, designers should evaluate contrast and cultural differences when designing toggles.

Managing toggle configuration via static files becomes cumbersome as a product reaches certain scale. To address this many teams choose to move their toggle configuration into some type of centralized store, often an existing application DB, with the build-out of an admin UI that enables testers and product managers to view and modify these settings at runtime. This is often referred to as a Feature Flag Management System. It also eliminates the need for a re-deployment to a testing environment which can slow down the cycle time for validation and feedback.