Why Use a Toggle?

A toggle is a switch that can be used to allow users to switch between two states or options. It’s commonly found in everyday technology like computers and phones. Typically, toggles are designed to make it easier for people to customize their experience and accommodate their preferences for readability or aesthetics.

Toggles are used by many websites to offer users the ability to select between light and dark themes. This is a great way to help reduce the amount of visual distraction that can be caused by websites and apps. It also helps to avoid confusion between different interfaces. This is a great feature for those with low vision and other accessibility issues as it can improve the overall user experience.

While a toggle is an easy solution to provide users with this type of customization, it can also pose some challenges. Because toggles don’t have an obvious on/off state, it is important to use them correctly to prevent confusion and ensure that they are effective. In order to do this, it is essential to design toggles with proper context and clear labeling. This can be difficult since there are a lot of design conventions that can cause confusion if they are not followed. For example, it is essential to not rely on only color as a visual cue, as this can be confusing for people with low vision or other disabilities. Instead, it is best to use a combination of other visual elements to indicate the toggle’s state.

Another reason to use toggles is for feature experimentation. By allowing engineering teams to test features with a subset of users before full rollout, they can get a better idea of how the feature will be received and identify any issues that may need to be addressed. This is a great way to increase the quality of new features and limit the risk of a bad launch.

Feature Toggles can also be used to perform multivariate or A/B testing. Each user will be placed into a cohort and at runtime the Toggle Router will consistently send them down one code path or the other. By tracking the aggregate behavior of each cohort, you can determine which codepath is most effective.

Toggles can also be used to test the performance of different features and UI elements in a production environment. For example, if you have an experimental navigation bar, you can use a toggle to see how the feature is being utilized in the real world before it goes live. This will help you determine if the navigation bar is effective in helping users find the content they are looking for.

Depending on the type of toggle you are using, it may be long-lived or semi-permanent. For long-lived toggles, it is often best to implement them as a Dynamic Flag. This allows your system to query an external data source, such as Kameleoon, to read the toggle configuration and turn it on or off at runtime without needing to do any manual code deployment.