How to Design a Good Toggle

A toggle is a simple user-interface component that enforces a mutually exclusive state, either ON or OFF. When used in combination with clear labels and standard visual design, they can help users update preferences and settings. However, when used without careful attention to context, these switches can become confusing and frustrating. To avoid this, be sure to always provide a clear and direct label for each toggle and only use these controls where they can deliver immediate results.

In addition, the choice of colors for toggles is important. It should be obvious that a toggle switch is in a different state than its neighbor, and designers should avoid using low-contrast color combinations (green on red for example) since they can make these switches difficult to read for people with color blindness or other vision impairments. Also, some cultures treat red and green as opposing colors, so be sure to consider this when choosing these colors (and a few others!).

Lastly, the toggling decision for a Release Toggle is typically quite static so this type of toggle is less suited to continuous re-configuration. In such cases it’s typically more appropriate to hardcode a specific configuration for the feature instead of relying on a more dynamic approach like a preprocessor #ifdef.

Finally, it’s a good practice to always test the toggle configuration that will be used in production. This includes testing with all toggles flipped On and also testing with all toggles flipped Off so that teams can catch any unexpected regressions before they get rolled out to real customers. Savvy teams often include a task for adding or removing Release Toggles to the team’s backlog whenever a new one is introduced and some even put expiration dates on their toggles so that the system will refuse to start if any are still around after an expired time.