What is a Toggle?

A toggle is a control used to quickly switch between two possible states, commonly used for “on/off” switches. It is a binary action that takes effect immediately after the user flips it.

Toggles are often found in everyday technology devices and applications, such as keyboards that allow users to toggle between the Caps Lock and Num Lock functions. They are also a common component in software applications to provide an easy way to switch between different settings and modes.

Many teams use Feature Toggles to manage the features they release to their users. This allows them to expose new functionality in a controlled manner without impacting the rest of their codebase and production environment.

For example a team might decide that it’s best to enable the feature to a select cohort of their customers for testing and feedback before making it available to everyone. This is typically referred to as a Champagne Brunch or Canary Release. A Canary Release is similar to a Permission Toggle but with the difference that it is applied to all users and not just to a subset of them.

When using toggles it is important to make sure the toggle’s state is obvious. A toggle that has an on state that is less prominent than the off state will perform poorly in perception tests. A good solution is to use a contrast color or background that makes the toggle’s state clear to the user. Another option is to increase the font size of the label and/or action text to make it more visible.