Toggle is a digital trade journal highlighting the role technology plays in companies and organizations across industries. We explore the unique challenges of this rapidly changing space, and the leaders who lead it.
The word toggle originally meant “a pin passed through the eye of a rope or chain to fasten it.” Today, it refers to a kind of switch that can shift between two electronic, mechanical, or computer-related options — often by pressing a button or keystroke. He toggled between the com to talk to air traffic control and the gps to navigate to the convention.
In software, toggles are the preferred way to adjust settings or preferences because they take up less screen real estate than checkboxes and radio buttons. However, they’re notoriously confusing to users because they come with a default state (ON or OFF) that may not be obvious to them. And even when designers add colors to help them understand the current state (such as green for ON and red for OFF), many users have color vision deficiency, which means they can’t use those cues.
It’s important to remember that when using toggles, you need to provide immediate results by removing the need for users to click a Save or Confirm button. If this is not possible for any reason it’s better to use a checkbox instead, because they don’t require any additional action from the user to apply a new state. When using a feature flag, you should consider exposing an endpoint that allows for dynamic in-memory re-configuration of a toggle (as opposed to a static configuration). This will make it easier for teams to test and debug their features without having to re-deploy artifacts into their testing environments.