Why Toggle Buttons Are Confusing

From UX Movement https://ift.tt/2NPB1Sn

There’s no better way for changing states on an app than to use toggle buttons. A state change occurs at the press of a button. They save space by presenting two or more options in a single control. But when they’re confusing to use, they’re the worst.

Inverted Vs. Direct Color Scheme

The challenge with toggle buttons is making the current state obvious. Users often have trouble identifying the active state when the visual cue isn’t intuitive. This confusion causes them to select the wrong option and activate an unintended state.


Confusion happens when the visual cue used to indicate the current state is an inverted color scheme. It isn’t clear to users that the darker button signifies the active state. Many of them mistake the lighter button as the selected option because it also has an “on” appearance.

Inverted colors are problematic because they make the buttons too distinct from each other. When the buttons look different, it’s hard to tell which one is given emphasis when users compare them.

Toggle buttons need to have a similar style so users can compare the buttons and spot the active variant. They’ll then assign the variant option as the active state. Without a baseline for comparison, users don’t know what the visual cue is.

Instead of using an inverted color scheme, use a direct color scheme. A direct color scheme displays both buttons with dark text on a light background. The difference is that the selected option has a light shading and a bolded text label to indicate a highlight. Not only that, but the unselected options have a lighter border and text label to accentuate the contrast further.

A direct color scheme provides four visual cues for the active state compared to an inverted color scheme. The selected option has a visible variation, while the unselected option is more minimal. A one-to-one comparison makes it apparent to users which button has more weight.

Make Toggling Less Mind-Boggling

The key to intuitive toggle buttons is to use a direct color scheme. It makes the active state easier to recognize and cuts the confusion. When visual cues are unclear, users make mistakes. Make toggling less mind-boggling by applying a more intuitive style on your toggle buttons.

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