What Is a Toggle?

A toggle is a switch that has two positions, on and off. It’s a verb as well, like switching between screens during a video chat or turning off the caps lock key. Toggles are also common in software as options or preferences, such as the checkboxes and radio buttons used to set browser settings. Toggle switches are easy to understand for users, especially if they’re given clear labels that describe the current state of the toggle. However, it’s important to remember that they should not rely solely on color for conveying their states as this can be confusing. The WCAG best practice for toggles is to not use colors at all, and to instead rely on clear labeling and interaction.

Toggles are great for enabling users to experiment with different product features, but they can be risky for wider site usage. Having too many toggles can create a cognitive load for users and cause them to feel overwhelmed. For this reason, toggles should only be used in the early phases of a release cycle and removed as soon as it’s determined that they have stabilized.

For larger scale experiments, Toggles can be a useful tool to manage the impact of a change without risking any production code or data. However, they should be used carefully and sparingly as a way to test new features and allow for the most accurate feedback possible from users. Depending on the size of a Toggle, it may be necessary to add more robust safeguards to protect against potential errors or unexpected outcomes, such as a UI bug that could occur when a toggle is clicked.