A toggle is a pin that is passed through a hole or loop in a rope to fasten it. It is also a type of switch that can be turned on or off, like the Caps Lock and Num Lock keys on keyboards. The word is also used as a verb meaning to change between two or more states, such as toggling between video chats with two friends at once.
Using toggles on a page allows you to display a lot of information in a very small space. However, it’s important to understand when they’re appropriate and how to use them appropriately. There are some situations where toggles are not a good choice for users, such as when they’re not in control of the state change and need to wait until it is reflected in the interface (for example, the user needs to tap a Save or Confirm button for changes to take effect).
It’s also important to remember that toggles can be confusing to some users. One of the most common reasons for this is that they rely on color to convey state, and some users find colors to be unreliable cues. For example, the WCAG guidelines recommend that designers don’t rely solely on colors to differentiate between a toggle’s active and inactive states. In fact, in our research, a toggle that relies on red to denote the active state performed worse than the same toggle with a solid white background.
Another issue with toggles is that they tend to be hard to read on small screens, particularly for mobile users. This can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. One way to mitigate this is to make sure the toggle text is as large as possible. Another option is to give the toggle a different color or shape, which can help users identify it quickly.
The ability to dynamically re-configure specific service instances through a toggle is a powerful tool that can be very effective in certain environments. However, if not used properly it can be very confusing for users and result in many bugs in production systems. To avoid these problems it’s generally best to manage toggle configuration using some type of centralized system. This can range from static configuration in files to more sophisticated approaches that rely on a preprocessor feature.
In most cases a Release Toggle should only stay in place for a few weeks or even a couple of days. Beyond that it’s best to roll out new releases that contain toggle configuration updates. This approach is typically accompanied by a set of admin UI features for system operators, testers and product managers to manage and modify Toggle Configuration. However, this method is not suitable for product-centric toggles that need to be managed across multiple releases and platforms.