Using Toggle to Manage Permissions


Toggle is a user interface element that lets users update their preferences and settings with a single click. It can also be used to manage permissions and other types of state at the user level. Toggles should be deployed sparingly and only when they can meet three criteria: (1) they provide direct labels (2) they use standard visual design (3) they deliver immediate results. This isn’t always possible but the more these rules are met the better a toggle will perform.

A toggle can be either an on/off or an a/b switch. It is often used to test a new feature with a small cohort of users before it goes live. This technique is commonly known as Canary Release. A toggle can also be used to make more permanent changes such as a Champagne Brunch. These can be long lived compared to other categories of Feature Toggles – potentially at the scale of years.

Using Toggles to Manage Permissions

A good example of this is an app that provides users with the ability to hide messages sent through the service. This is a perfect use of a toggle because the functionality is temporary and there’s no need to remember what state the switch was in.

When designing a toggle it’s important to keep two things in mind: (1) contrast and (2) cultural differences. Toggle switches should use high contrast colors to indicate their status and a clear description of what the state does. Embellishment like embossment has proven to be unreliable for indicating status and is best used in combination with other visual cues such as a bold-thin style. It’s also a good idea to avoid using color alone since it can be confusing for people who are blind or low vision.