What Is a Toggle?

The word toggle has multiple meanings, but is most commonly used to describe a switch or button that allows you to change between two different states or options. This simple user interface element is ubiquitous in everyday technology from the power buttons on your laptop to the settings screens on your smartphone. It’s important to keep in mind that toggling can be difficult for users and should be avoided where possible. Instead, focus on reducing complexity and improving consistency and clarity.

A toggle is a great way to allow users to update their preferences, settings and other types of information that would normally require more complicated input. Toggles should be easily identifiable by their visual design, have clear and concise labels, and deliver immediate results.

Feature Toggles are a key component of modern software development processes and can be used to support both agile release schedules as well as traditional waterfall approaches. They allow teams to quickly and safely deploy features that could otherwise only be developed on code branches under more traditional development models.

Toggles are also a great tool to use for running multivariate or A/B testing. They can be set up to consistently send each individual cohort of users down one or another codepath, enabling data-driven optimizations such as the call-to-action wording on a button or the purchase flow for an ecommerce site.