What Is a Toggle Switch?

A toggle is a switch that has two positions: On and Off. It is a common interface element in software and hardware, and is found throughout the world’s computing ecosystem.

Togle (pronounced tog-lee) is an English word that means “switch.” It can also be figuratively used to mean “change direction.” For example, you might toggle between French and Spanish homework.

For software, a toggle switch is an on/off control that allows users to change settings or preferences in an app or web page. This simple user-interface component can make a huge impact on how users interact with your system or app.

When designing toggle switches, it’s important to consider a number of factors. These include color, contrast, and state descriptors.

Using a high-contrast color for the On position is essential to ensuring that users can easily recognize this control’s state. Low-contrast colors may lead to confusion and misperception, especially among a broader range of users.

In general, toggles should be easy to read and provide direct labels to help users understand what they are controlling. Labels should also be concise and descriptive, as users are more likely to recall something from memory when it is written clearly.

Toggle configuration is often managed in static files. This is fine for small projects or for single server instances, but can become cumbersome and unwieldy when you scale up.

Managing toggle configuration in a centralized system is a much better option for large teams with multiple servers. This can be accomplished by creating a DB with a central admin UI for system operators, testers and product managers to manage their toggles and the configuration associated with each.

This DB should contain all the relevant toggle configuration for the current production release plus any toggles that you intend to flip On in a future release. This strategy will ensure that the new toggle configuration is properly reflected in future releases and avoid surprise regressions during testing.

It should also be able to re-configure the toggle at runtime in order to allow for dynamic in-memory changes, which can significantly speed up validation and feedback loops. This type of dynamic configuration should only be used for feature flags that are infrequently changed or where a hard-coded implementation is not necessary.