How to Use Toggles in Your Web Application

A toggle is a hardware or software switch that, when pressed, turns on a function and, when released, switches it off. This is a common design pattern in user interfaces where users have the ability to change settings, options, or other preferences.

Toggles can also be used to run A/B tests on new features by bucketing users into two groups: those with the new feature enabled and those without it. This allows your engineering team to test new code and features in a real-world environment before rolling them out broadly.

It’s important to keep in mind that while toggles provide a powerful tool for updating preferences, settings and other types of information, they should be used sparingly. It is easy to add too many toggles to your system, and the more they’re used, the harder it can be to navigate your site or app.

When using toggles, it is important to make sure that your users can clearly see which state they are in. To do this, use a bright or high-contrast color for the toggle’s “on” position and a dark or low-contrast color for the toggle’s “off” position. It’s also a good idea to include text labels with each toggle for clear context, preferably adjacent to the toggle.

Finally, be sure to avoid using toggles for anything other than functionality that your engineering team is ready to roll out in a live production environment. Too many toggles left idle in your codebase can cause a lot of technical debt and be a headache to debug weeks or months down the line.