How to Use a Toggle in a Web Application

A toggle is a form of binary or “on-off” control, usually in the shape of a button, lever, or switch, but also found in software applications. It enforces a mutually exclusive state, on or off, and allows users to press the desired one. It’s a simple user interface element with a huge impact on user experience.

Toggles allow dev teams to test new features in a live environment before pushing them to production. They are a great way to help your engineering team test code in a real world setting without putting the entire application at risk. Feature toggles bucket your users into two groups: when the toggle is turned ON, your users see the new version of your application with the tested feature, and when it’s turned OFF, they continue to see the original.

It’s important to make sure that toggles are accessible — especially when used for settings or preferences. They should be easy to understand, have clear labels, and use standard visual design. Toggle switches should always be visible to the user, and should use visual cues (such as color) to make it clear what state the switch is in. It’s also important to avoid using colors that rely on red and green as they may not be legible to people with color blindness.

The best place to use a toggle is in an article, where it’s easy to transform standard ordered (ol>) and unordered (ul>) lists created in the editor into interactive collapsible and expandable sections. Toggles are especially useful when you want to show or hide content in the presentation view of an article.