Usability: New user can't tell whether settings are on or off

Launching Brave for the first time, I’m confronted with this:


There’s nothing in the UI to tell me whether red or gray means “on”, and since these are settings no other browser has, it’s not obvious what the default would be, meaning there are no contextual cues either. A little text, even a mouseover, would go a long way.

Thank you for reaching out.
I belive that the common practice/convention for toggle options such as these is
Toggled right = ON image
Toggled left = OFF image

Thanks for the clarification. That may be the case, but I’m afraid it’s still not at all obvious, especially when the “on” color is one that ordinarily indicates danger. iOS, for instance, does use left=off, right=on, but also displays “on” toggles in green.

20 also uses green, but goes one step further by including a checkbox for “on” and an X for “off”, making it clear even to the most colorblind user:


The inactive states in both iOS and Travis are also much lower contrast than the active states (also a helpful distinction for users with impaired color vision). Possibly if I’d launched Brave in light mode I would have been less confused, but in dark mode the gray toggles are quite high-contrast. :frowning:


Perhaps, but both of the examples you gave match the convention Brave uses. Toggled ON (that is, to the right) turns icons orange to indicate that it is “active”, while toggling them OFF (to the left) indicates “inactive”.

Also note that for certain settings, further indication of what the toggle is actually controlling is typically reflected in the associated text (if applicable):

I’m not arguing that the switches don’t follow the convention, I’m arguing that the convention is a weak one and one shouldn’t count on users to know it. (It may be stronger on Android, I don’t know – certainly the L&F of the Brave toggles is close to what I’m seeing in Material Design guidelines when I google around, so maybe that’s what you’re basing it on.)

As for the text change, that’s useful. Perhaps it could be extended to more settings, or perhaps settings that do do that could be foregrounded so that they can teach users the color convention in a more natural way.

See also extensive discussion here (mostly hardware switches, but some software):

See also:

John R. Clarke, a professor of surgery at Drexel University in Philadelphia, estimates that about 15 percent of the population faces some degree of left/right challenge. Eric Chudler, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, puts the figure a bit higher, having found that more than 26 percent of college students and 19 percent of college professors acknowledge having difficulty telling left from right – occasionally, frequently or always.