Difference between revisions of "Projects/Usability/HIG/Toggle Buttons"

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(When not to Use)
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==How to Use==
 
==How to Use==
  
===Label Wording===
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===Icon and Label===
  
Label of toggle buttons can often be reduced to a "noun only" form instead of the classic "verb (+ noun)" used with classic buttons. The "noun only" form should be favored over the "verb (+ noun)" form whenever it does not cause any ambiguity as this form reduces clutter.
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There are two ways to label a toggle button:
  
Example: A toggle button to show/hide a sidebar can be labeled either "Show Sidebar" or simply "Sidebar".
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1. Describe the state which is reached when the button is down:
  
===Icon and Label===
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In this case the icon and label should not change when the button is down.
  
In most cases one should never change the icon or label of a toggle button. A toggle button is very similar to a check box and should thus behave in the same way. The fact that it is pressed down is enough to indicate the current state of the element it represents.
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For example a button to toggle the visibility of a sidebar could say "Show Sidebar". It should still say "Show Sidebar" when the button is down: it should not be changed to "Hide Sidebar".
  
It may make sense in some case to change the icon to reflect the '''current''' state. Think of it like an outdoor light switch with an embedded led to indicate whether the outdoor light is on.
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If you want to change the button text to "Hide Sidebar" when the sidebar is shown then you should use a normal button, not a toggle button.
  
In the "Sidebar" example, "Show Sidebar" should not be turned into "Hide Sidebar" when the sidebar is visible. If you consider it more explicit to change the icon and label of your button then you should use a normal button, not a toggle button.
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An alternative is to reduce the button to a noun if it is not ambiguous. In this example the button label could be reduced to "Sidebar".
  
 
[[File:Toggle-button-summary.png]]
 
[[File:Toggle-button-summary.png]]
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 +
2. Describe the '''current''' state:
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 +
In this case the label will often include a passive verb. For example a button to lock or unlock an element would say "Unlocked" when it is up and "Locked" when it is down. The icon should match the label.

Revision as of 23:04, 18 August 2010

Contents

Definition

A toggle button is a button which stays down when clicked once and goes up when clicked a second time.

When to Use

Use a toggle button to indicate a state.

Example: A word processor should use toggle buttons to indicate the state of "Bold", "Italic" or "Underline" formatting.

When not to Use

Do not use a toggle button to indicate an action.

Example: A music player should not use a toggle button to implement a combined Play/Pause button. It should use a normal button and adjust the icon and label to represent the action which would be performed when clicked.

How to Use

Icon and Label

There are two ways to label a toggle button:

1. Describe the state which is reached when the button is down:

In this case the icon and label should not change when the button is down.

For example a button to toggle the visibility of a sidebar could say "Show Sidebar". It should still say "Show Sidebar" when the button is down: it should not be changed to "Hide Sidebar".

If you want to change the button text to "Hide Sidebar" when the sidebar is shown then you should use a normal button, not a toggle button.

An alternative is to reduce the button to a noun if it is not ambiguous. In this example the button label could be reduced to "Sidebar".

Toggle-button-summary.png

2. Describe the current state:

In this case the label will often include a passive verb. For example a button to lock or unlock an element would say "Unlocked" when it is up and "Locked" when it is down. The icon should match the label.


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