What Is a Toggle?

Toggle is a control that allows users to switch between two opposing states or options. It is often used in technology, computing and programming to provide users with a simple way to change settings and modes. In daily use, toggles can be found as switches on cars, televisions, computer screens and laptops, or even as the switch that turns the caps lock on and off.

When designing a toggle, be sure to clearly describe the state that it is currently in and how the user can change it. Also, be mindful of the contrast and societal or cultural implications of the color you choose for the toggle’s state. Using a color that is familiar to your audience can help reinforce the meaning of the toggle. Using action oriented language can also make it easier for users to understand how to change the state of the toggle.

Collapsible toggles can be a great way to organize article content and minimize scrolling for visitors. They work best when the article content is short and visitors only need the most relevant information. However, you may run into some issues with toggles if you have an abundance of images or other dynamic content that load later on in the article. These elements can break the visibility toggle feature and prevent viewers from being able to see all of the article content.

A toggle is a small button that has one or more states, and enables you to change the state by clicking on it. When you click on a toggle, the switch changes to its opposite state (on/off). The term comes from an 18th century pin passed through the eye of a rope that was designed to fasten a flag in place.

Feature toggles allow you to test new features in a live production environment without exposing all of your users to the feature at once. By using a feature toggle, your engineering team can run A/B tests and monitor performance. The feature can then be turned on for a subset of your users and rolled back to the original version if necessary.

Toggles can be used for many things including article sections, containers, images, maps, key/value items, prompt linked articles, quotes and more. However, it is not possible to toggle the metadata section tab headers or any mention links. Additionally, if a toggle includes an image that has a link to another page, the visitor must reload the other page to see the link.

Managing toggle configuration via static files can become cumbersome and difficult to manage at scale. This is why some organizations choose to store toggle configuration in some type of centralized repository, usually an existing application DB. This is a slightly more complicated approach than commenting with a preprocessor feature like #ifdef, but it still provides the flexibility to update toggle configuration on demand. This approach is typically paired with some type of admin UI to make it easy for system operators, testers and product managers to view and modify the toggle configuration.