What Is a Toggle?

A toggle is a switch that has two positions, on and off. It’s the same principle behind hardware switches like the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys on a keyboard, or the options menus in most applications. A toggle is a way to temporarily turn something on, and when you release the button it turns back off.

Toggle can be used to add content elements like a sidebar or table of contents. It can also be used to structure article content by minimizing scrolling and making it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for. Toggle can also be used to implement features like responsive layouts and animations that adapt to the user’s screen size.

The word toggle can also be a verb, meaning to shift between modes or states, as when someone switches between screens during video chat. Toggle can also refer to the act of switching between different configurations in a software application, such as from development mode to production mode.

While using toggles to control UI is useful, there are some important things to keep in mind. Most notably, toggles can be cognitively problematic because they rely on the proximity principle to convey their current state. In addition, they often use literal On and Off labels that can be confusing to users because they don’t match the color of the toggle’s background.

Some teams try to mitigate these problems by adding a task on the team’s backlog to remove toggles once they’re no longer needed. Others use “expiration dates” on their toggles, preventing them from running if they’re still active after an agreed-upon amount of time. To help reduce the overhead of these tasks, Kameleoon can automatically query an outside data source for the configuration of a feature toggle and change its state without code deployment.