How to Design Effective Toggle Switches

A toggle is a control that allows users to update preferences, settings, and other types of information. This simple user-interface component can have a big impact on users’ experience. To make sure toggles are effective, they should be clearly labeled, look like sliders, and deliver immediate results. Toggle switches are best used when you need to allow a user to choose between two opposing states.

During the testing phase we found that a toggle with a more pronounced active color compared to its inactive counterpart performed better on the 5-second test than a toggle with a lighter color difference. The reason is that the darker color draws the user’s attention immediately allowing them to process what they are doing more quickly.

The less pronounced color, on the other hand, requires more attention and takes longer to understand. This led to a larger error rate and lower confidence score. When designing your next toggle, consider this research and ensure that the contrast between the active and inactive options is noticeable.

Toggles can be managed with static configuration which means that the toggle’s state is hardcoded into the release and cannot be changed (for less dynamic flags at least). Savvy teams view the inventory of feature flags as carrying a cost so they are proactive in removing those that haven’t had a significant impact. In some cases, they even put “expiration dates” on their toggles which will cause the system to fail when a toggle has not been updated in a certain time.