How to Use Toggle in Your UI Design

Togle is an important user interface component that can have a huge impact on the overall experience of your site or app. When used correctly, toggles can help users update their preferences and other settings quickly and easily.

Toggles can be found in almost every aspect of software that involves options or preferences lists, and in hardware devices such as keyboards that have Caps Lock or Num Lock keys. In computing, a toggle is a switch that can only be triggered in two ways: on or off.

When using a toggle in your design, it is essential that it clearly denotes what the control will do when it is on. This can be done by utilizing a slider and visual cues (such as color or movement).

The word toggle is derived from the verb toggle, meaning “to switch.” Toggle is also the name of the hardware feature on many phones that allows you to turn off an app or function when you’re not using it.

Having a Toggle in your design file is great for reenacting the experience that users will have in an actual site or app with video playback or previews. When adding a toggle, you can set it to only show when you’re on the right frame in a prototype or jump directly to a specific time.

A Toggle’s State Is Confirmed

It is very important to confirm that the switch’s state is confirmed before you publish your design to production. This ensures that your users will be able to navigate your product with confidence.

Toggle’s state should be consistent throughout your project. This is especially important for UI components that users are likely to interact with in multiple contexts.

Consider putting an expiration date on your toggles. This will ensure that your toggles don’t stay around too long and impede the ability of your users to navigate your application with confidence.

In addition to putting an expiration date on your toggles, savvy teams will also be proactive in removing feature flags that are no longer needed. This may be done through automated testing or manually in a product backlog.

A good practice is to perform tests with toggles in different configurations to avoid surprise regressions on a release. For example, you may want to test the current production toggle configuration plus any feature flags that are expected to be flipped On in the next release.

You should also test the fall-back configuration where toggles that are not yet flipped On are flipped Off to ensure that any regressions in a future release won’t occur with these toggles in place.

Managing Toggle Configuration

One of the most common ways that teams manage toggle configuration is through static files. While this is a viable approach when the toggles are relatively static, it can become very cumbersome as your toggles scale.

Many organizations move toggle configuration into some type of centralized store, often an existing application DB, and use a centralized admin UI to make toggle configuration changes. This makes life a lot easier for team members as they can modify toggle configuration quickly and easily in source control without needing to know how the underlying application works. This can save a lot of time, effort and frustration in the long run.