Using the Simulator

The Simulator allows you to test and simulate BlueConic's behavior in real time on a web page. Using the Simulator you can test how BlueConic schedules interactions and variants to be triggered and how your profiles and segments are affected. This is very useful for seeing how BlueConic will behave based on your segment, dialogue, interaction, variant and profile property settings before going live.

The Simulator can be used on any page that is part of a channel that is defined in your universe, and that contains the BlueConic script on the page. You can view other pages in the simulator, but you will not be able to manipulate them.


Viewing a site in the simulator

You can open any page in the simulator by entering the URL. If your the URL you entered is not part of your universe, the title bar will have an orange border and an orange "?" warning sign. In that case you will not be able to manipulate the content of the page via the widgets.

If the URL is part of your universe it will be displayed in the central area of the simulator. However, the following exceptions can occur:

The URL is not available in https.

To maximize the security of your visitor data, BlueConic runs in https (secure) mode. This means that when you try to open an http (non-secure) site in BlueConic, this will be blocked by default by your browser, as browsers do not allow the embedding of non-secure objects within a secure environment. To avoid this, BlueConic will first try to open your site in secure mode (https). However, when this is not available, it will show a warning that you have to allow your browser to show the page. You will need to do this once every browser session.

You will get a warning with instructions similar to the one below, which might look slightly different, depending on the browser and operating system you use:

More information on the security aspects of this warning can be found here

The URL is not allowed to open in an i-frame

Some sites contain code that prevents them from being opened within an iframe on another site. These sites cannot be opened in a normal way in the simulator. The following warning will be displayed:

You can view the page by clicking on [Open the page in a pop-up window]. This will open a new window that is in direct connection with the simulator. You can use all the simulator widgets and they will have an effect on the page in the pop-up window. Both in the pop-up window and in the main area of the simulator window in BlueConic, a simulator logo is present:

Clicking on this logo will toggle the focus between the two windows.

You can open any site in a separate pop-up window if you want to. You can do this by clicking on the icon next to the URL-bar:

The URL does not contain the BlueConic script

If the site is defined in your universe, but the BlueConic script is not present on the page you are loading, it will not be possible to use the simulator. Because BlueConic keeps on trying to communicate with the script on the page, this will lead to an unresponsive situation. After trying to load the page for more than 5 seconds, the loading window will change into the following window:

If you are absolutely sure the script is correctly present on the page, the slow loading of the page could also be caused by other issues, that we could not detect in a normal way (mixed content or i-frame problems). Or you could just have a slow connection to the site. In those cases you can try to solve the problem using the suggestions presented in this window.


Simulation data clean up

During the simulations, you can make use of the widgets in your sidebars. All data that is generated during simulations will be removed once every 24 hours, so that it does not affect your long term reporting data. If you want to clean up simulation data directly you can click the [Clean up] button next to the URL address bar. This will delete profiles that were used in the simulation, and all views, clicks and conversion data generated during simulation.


The context widget

The context widget allows you to set the specific context in which you want to view the page and perform you testing and simulation. From within the context widget you are able to specify the device with which you visit the page, the persona that visits the page, and the date/time on which you visit the page.


Choosing a different device will have an effect on the following:

  • Set the viewport at the resolution of the device you select, allowing you to preview how the site would display in other screen resolutions
  • Set the profile properties for this simulation that reflect the used device (e.g. current device, resolution, operating system etc.). This allows you to test BlueConic interactions that are defined to only show on devices with these characteristics.


By selecting a persona in the context widget, a new profile will be created containing the profile property values that are stored for that profile as a starting point. In this way you are able to view and test the page for typical visitors of your site. By default the persona "new" is always available. Choosing this persona will clear all your profile values and will show the page starting as a new visitor. It's valuable to make persona's because profiles from BlueConic of BlueConic users will otherwise be automatically deleted. You can create other persona's from the profile widget

Create a new Persona by opening the 'Full Profile' from the 'Profile' widget and clicking the 'Save as Persona' button:

After creating the Persona, you can then export it and save it for later using the 'Context' widget of the Simulator:


Persona definitions are user-specific. You can, however, share them with other BlueConic users by using the Import/Export functions.

Import/Export Persona
You are able to export or import persona definitions to share these with other users of your BlueConic environment. To import or export persona's in the Simulator use the 'Context' widget.

To export a persona, click on the settings button and choose [Export]. This will generate a zip-file with a persona definition. To import such a zip-file from another user, select [Import] and select the zip file that contains the persona definition. After the persona has been imported, click the newly created 'persona-definition' should active the persona in the Simulator.


Delete persona
To delete a persona from your list, click on the settings button and choose the option [Delete].


By setting the date/time you can set the date for your simulation. BlueConic will use this date to determine whether interactions that planned to start or stop at specific dates should be shown.


The Profile Widget

In the Profile Properties widget you can see all the properties that the current visitor has based on your behavior. The profile properties are shown in 3 different sections:

  1. The first section shows all profile properties that are marked as "watching". These profile properties are always shown on top of the list of properties in this widget, regardless of their value. You can mark profile properties for watching by clicking on the "glasses"-icon which is a toggle for watching these profile properties. The glasses icon will appear on hover at the left hand side of a profile property in the widget, or in the right hand side of a profile property when you are viewing the full profile in a lightbox (3). Profile properties which value has changed during the last click or page refresh contain a blue dot.
  2. The second section shows all profile properties for which the value has changed during the last click or page refresh. To indicate these changes these values have a blue dot next to it.
  3. To view the full profile, you can click on "show full profile". This will open up a lightbox containing the full profile in three columns: profile property name, current value and previous value (one click or page view ago):

At the bottom of this full profile screen you find the permission level and privacy settings of the simulated profile. Select another permission level or click the privacy settings to make a pop-up window appear where you can adjust the simulated legislation and objectives:


Viewing profile property details

Clicking on a profile property in the widget will show the details for that profile property in a tooltip.

Property name A name of this profile property. A direct link to the settings for that profile property in the profile properties section of BlueConic.
Permission Level The permission level that is required to be able to store a value in this profile property.
Current value The current value of the profile property. Clicking on this value will allow you to set or add a value manually.
Previous value The value of the profile property one click or page refresh ago.
Watch this property Toggle to add this profile property to your watchlist of profile properties.


Adding, modifying, or deleting profile property values

It is possible to add, modify, or delete values for profile properties manually. You can do this either in the detailed view of a profile property in the widget or in the lightbox showing the full profile. An existing value can be changed by clicking on it, a new value can be added by clicking on "add value" which appears on hover. This allows you test what effect a profile property has on the segments the current user belongs to and therefore which interactions will be executed.

Saving a profile as a persona

In the full profile lightbox there is a button in the top right corner allowing you to save this profile to a persona. The values of the profile that you are viewing on that moment are then stored as a persona, which you can later use in your context widget. Saving as a persona will prompt you for a name for that persona and an image for that persona. The persona image can be picked from a predefined list, but you can also upload an image of your own choice.


The Segments Widget

The Segments Widget gives an overview of segments. The green or red indicator to the right of a segment shows whether you are currently part of that segment or not, based on your profile property values.

Two categories of segments are displayed in the widget:

  1. On top of the list are segments that are in your watchlist. To add or remove a segment to your watchlist click on the glasses icon to the left of a segment in the segment widget or in the "all segments" overview.
  2. Below all the watched segments, the widget will display segments that you either just entered or just left, based on the latest changes in the profile.

If you click on "all segments" a lightbox opens showing all segments.


Segment details

By clicking on a segment in either the widget or in the lightbox, you can view details for that segment

In the segment details tooltip, you see a table overview of all the filter criteria for that segment. Per filter you see whether your current simulation profile matches the criteria.
If you are not part of the segment you are inspecting, you will see the option to automatically adapt the profile property to fit into this segment. This is helpful in situations where you want to be able to quickly test interactions for a specific segment.


The Listeners Widget

The listeners widget displays all listeners that are configured to work on the page that you are viewing. To the right of each listener is a colored switch. This indicates whether the listener is currently active or not. To change the status of a listener in the simulation, you can toggle the switch. In this case an "s" is displayed in the switch, to indicate that the status that is displayed is only applicable for this simulation.
A change in the status of a listener will be effective at the next page refresh or click.

Scrolling to the bottom of your listeners widget you'll see the option to "Show other listeners". Clicking on this option will display all the listeners that are not currently active. Listeners that appear under this header in grey are not executed because this page does not match the Where settings of the listener. 


Clicking the "Hide other listeners" the link will remove the grey/disabled items from the list again and switch the text back to "Show other listeners".


Listener details

Clicking on a listener in the widget will reveal the details of that listener, including a link to directly navigate to the settings of that listener, and the possibility to add this lister to your watchlist. This will move the listener to the top of the list.

The Dialogues Widget

The Dialogues widget displays all dialogues and variants that are active on the page that you are viewing. The dialogues are grouped per position. The dialogues that are actually displayed on the page that you are viewing, are shown in bold

By clicking on an dialogue, it will expand and show all other dialogues that are defined on that position. The position itself will be highlighted in the page. 

If you hover over a position in the page with your mouse, the position will be highlighted in the dialogue widget.

You can use the search option to narrow down the list of dialogues, and search for specific dialogues or variants. The variants displayed are not grouped; it's a flat long list of all variants of which the Where settings didn't match with the URL in the simulator.


All dialogue variants that are not yet listed above are available in the "Show other dialogues" link.

The search query that can be entered at the top of the Dialogues widget also filters out variants below the "Show other dialogues" line that don't have the search query present as substring in the name of the variant.

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Simulation options for Dialogues

You can manipulate the simulation of dialogues on the page in two ways:

  1. By clicking on the "eye"-symbol in front of a dialogue, you will directly switch to the preview of that interaction or variant on that position. The old interaction on that position will directly be replaced.
  2. To the right of each dialogue is a colored switch. This indicates whether the dialogue is currently active or not. To change the status of a dialogue in the simulation, you can toggle the switch. In this case an "s" is displayed in the switch, to indicate that the status that is displayed is only applicable for this simulation. A change in the status of a dialogue will be effective at the next page refresh or click. The decision engine of BlueConic will now make a new decision for each position based on these new statuses.

Dialogue details

Clicking on an dialogue in the widget will open up a tooltip with details of that dialogue:

  • A link to the configuration page of that dialogue, to quickly make changes to the settings.
  • A link to the position that dialogue is using.
  • Information on why this dialogue is not shown on the page. (e.g. because the start date is not yet reached, because the status is off, etc.


The journey recorder widget

With the journey recorder widget you can record and replay visitor journeys in your universe and replay them for quick testing. Within the journey all page visits, clicks and form entries are stored. You can replay them in other contexts. This allows you to simulate the same journey for people with different profiles, different devices, on another date, or with different interactions switched on or off.

Recording a new journey

To record a new journey, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the "record" button in the journey recorder
  2. Simulate your journey by navigating and clicking in the webpage that is visible in the simulator. The following items are recorded:
    • URLs entered in the navigation bar
    • Items clicked in a page
    • Form fields which are filled or manipulated
  3. When you finish your journey, press the "stop" button in the recorder
  4. You will now be prompted for a name for this journey. By entering a name, this journey is added to the list of available journeys

Replaying a journey

You can replay a journey by selecting a journey from the dropdown of available journeys and then press the play-button. This will automatically play the full journey.
To interrupt the journey, you can press the pause button. You can also click the "next step" button to play only the next step of the journey and immediately pause.
The step that is currently executed will be highlighted in the list.

Settings options

Clicking on the settings button will show the following options

  • Import/Export
    Recorded journeys are personal and only available to the user that created them. To share journeys with other users of your BlueConic environment, you can click on the settings button and export the selected journey. This will generate a zip-file which can be imported by another user
  • Delete
    This deletes the journey that is currently selected
  • Print
    This will create a print-out of your journey. This is meant for situations in which you want to be able to discuss these journeys offline or make notes for steps, when you want to demonstrate journeys to others.

Journey step editing

By clicking on a step in the recorded journey, the details for this step are displayed. You can now change the naming of the steps or add comments to each step.
You also have the option here to remove steps from your journey.