A toggle is a button-shaped switch that allows users to turn one option on or off. These switches can be found on physical devices such as computers, and also on software programs such as Microsoft Excel.
When toggles are used correctly they provide an efficient way to change settings without the need for a Save or Submit action. This is particularly useful in cases where the setting in question has a default value. However, toggles should not be used as a substitute for checkboxes or radio buttons because they have a number of disadvantages.
Unlike checkboxes, toggles cannot indicate an On or Off state with text so designers must rely on other visual cues to convey state. The most important visual indicator is color – it is important to pick colors that provide high contrast and consider cultural context (see the article on Color and Accessibility). Another important aspect of toggle design is the use of labels to describe the current state. It is helpful to limit the amount of text in a label and write short, direct labels that clearly communicate the purpose of the toggle.
Toggle configuration can be managed using a variety of methods, ranging from simple static file modification through to more sophisticated dynamically re-configuring systems. For larger deployments, a common approach is to move the feature flags into some type of centralized store, often an existing application DB. This often accompanied by a build-out of some type of admin UI that enables system operators, testers and product managers to view and modify the feature flag configuration.