A toggle is a switch with two outcomes: either it’s on or off. In software, toggles are found in options menus and other settings screens that allow the user to update preferences, settings or features. Toggle can also be used to describe the act of switching back and forth between one thing and another, such as when we toggle between a map view and a stream view during a video chat with two people at once.
In the physical world, a toggle is a rod-shaped button that can be inserted into a hole or loop in something like a coat to fasten it. The word was originally applied to a pin passed transversely through an eye or loop in a chain, rope or similar item to bind it temporarily.
Toggles can be very short-lived (such as a Canary Release) or they can live for weeks or even semi-permanently (like a Champagne Brunch). Because of this, a Feature Flag’s toggling decision should be made carefully and with the right balance between speed and impact.
When designing a toggle, be sure to consider how users perceive color as a visual signifier. Designers often use a more pronounced, saturated color to denote the active state and a lighter color to represent the inactive state. However, this approach can cause confusion when users cannot easily distinguish between the two states. Instead, it is more useful to provide clear labels with specific information about what the toggle does when in its active state.