How Toggle Can Affect User Experience

Toggle is a simple user interface control that lets users update their preferences, settings, or other types of information. Toggles are often used to avoid using checkboxes or radio buttons, which require more typing from the user. But toggle switches aren’t always a good choice and can have a negative impact on user experience when not designed correctly.

Toggles are particularly well-suited for adjusting the state of system functionality that doesn’t change the default state (such as turning airplane mode ON or OFF). They’re also more effective than sliders when displaying multiple options because they allow the user to see the differences at a glance. But when they’re used for more subjective decisions (such as enabling or disabling an option), the cognitive cost can be high.

In this study, we tested four different toggles of varying colors and visual cues. The results show that the most effective cue is a more pronounced, saturated color, while the least effective cue is a lighter, more muted color. The more pronounced color lures the user’s attention quickly and performs better on our 5-second test, but when given longer to observe the switch, its effectiveness decreases. In contrast, the more muted color appears to be more neutral and can be easily confused with the inactive button.

The labels on toggles need to be clear and direct to ensure the toggle’s function is understood. The best way to do this is by using an obvious word or phrase such as “on/off” or “yes/no”. The wording should be concise and descriptive, avoiding neutral or vague language. In addition, toggles should be clearly distinguished from inactive controls by changing their position on the screen or using a clear icon to distinguish them from other controls.

Another common use of toggles is in experimentation or multivariate testing. When a new feature is added to an application it can be toggled on/off by the developers so they can measure which version of the site or app performs best with users. This can be compared with other versions such as the current site, or an alternate site that has been implemented with a Champagne Brunch feature flag.

While this method of testing is not as precise as using A/B tests, it can provide significant improvements in conversion rates when done well. Toggle routes can also be used to manage features that are being rolled out across the entire user base. This is called a Permissioning Toggle. For example, a company may want to limit the amount of data that is collected by users of the platform. This can be accomplished by toggling on/off the permissions that are required to collect that information. This allows them to control how quickly the feature is rolled out to all users or to specific groups of users. For more information about Permissioning Toggles please read our blog post – How to Use Permissioning Toggles in your Product.