What Is a Togle?

A toggle is a switch that has two positions — like the one on your laptop that allows you to switch between screens as you video chat with two friends at once. The word toggle is also used figuratively to refer to the process of switching between settings or programs. Savvy teams use feature toggles to test new functionality with a small segment of users before rolling it out to the entire product. This is a great way to mitigate the risk that a new release will bomb. Feature toggles can also serve as circuit breakers during high latency periods by temporarily disabling non-essential features.

Toggles are an excellent choice for updating preferences and settings, because they take up less screen space than two radio buttons. However, it’s important to consider how they will be interpreted by users. When designing toggles, choose clear labels that make it obvious what the current state is. Use visual cues to convey that the toggle is either on or off, such as motion and color. Avoid using text on a toggle because this can be confusing for users with cognitive disabilities.

During the process of creating a toggle, it’s important to think about how the feature will be maintained once it’s released to production. Many teams use static files to manage their toggle configuration, but this approach quickly becomes unwieldy as your application scales. This is why most teams move to a centralized feature flag management system that enables a team to easily modify and share configuration.