A toggle is a switch that alternates between two positions. It can be used to change preferences, settings, or other types of information with a simple on/off command. This user interface component is often seen on mobile devices where it’s important to minimize scrolling.
When it comes to user experience, toggles should be well-designed. They should have clear labels and be easy to understand with minimal explanation. They should also be easily distinguishable from other interface elements by color, movement, or other signifiers. Finally, toggles should be clear about their current state and provide an immediate result.
Toggle definition in software development
A toggle enables users to change an existing feature or disable it entirely. A toggle can also be used to enable new features or behaviors for a select group of users before deploying them to the entire audience. This type of feature is typically called a Champagne Brunch or Canary Release.
Savvy teams view Feature Toggle configuration as inventory that comes with a carrying cost and seek to minimize the number of toggles over time. This is why many organizations choose to move their toggle configuration from static files into some form of centralized store, usually an existing application DB.
This enables more efficient testing and makes it easier to verify that a toggle configuration is working as expected without having to manually re-deploy a test artifact into a server fleet. Some teams even set “expiration dates” for their toggles to force themselves to remove unused configuration from the system.