What Is a Toggle?

Toggle is a simple control that allows you to update settings and preferences in an easy way. It’s often a key part of options menus on software and hardware. But it’s important to design toggles carefully so that users can understand their meaning and avoid confusion. To do this, designers must use direct labels and consistent visual cues. And they should also think about societal and cultural implications when designing the color for toggle states—using red for example might confuse some users who associate it with stop signs and traffic signals.

In software, the word toggle refers to a switch that can be flipped between two opposing positions—like the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys on keyboards that are toggled on or off as you video chat with two friends at once. It can also be a verb—toggle meaning to switch back and forth between two different tasks or vantage points. For instance, if you’re a web developer you might toggle between development mode and live view so that you can see what your customers are seeing.

Savvy teams recognize that Release Toggles have a carrying cost and seek to minimize their inventory by proactively removing toggles when they’re no longer needed. That’s why it’s important for teams to have a clear workflow for managing their toggle configuration and to test with all of the toggles that they plan to release flipped On. This will ensure that any new functionality they introduce won’t accidentally regress into a less desirable state in production.