BlueConic provides a Simulator for you to test and simulate how elements in BlueConic behave in real time on a web page. You can test how BlueConic schedules dialogues 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, 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 for your BlueConic implementation, 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.
Watch the video: Introducing the BlueConic Simulator
Using the Simulator to test your content in BlueConic
This article describes how to test your content using the BlueConic Simulator, and how the Simulator works with different parts of BlueConic:
Viewing a site in the simulator
You can open any page in the simulator by entering the URL. If the URL you entered is not part of your domains, 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 BlueConic domains it will be displayed in the central area of the simulator. However, the following exceptions can occur:
- The URL is not available in https
- The URL is not allowed to open in an i-frame
- The URL does not contain the BlueConic script
The URL is not available in https
To maximize the security of your profile data, BlueConic runs in https (secure) mode. This means that when you try to open an http (nonsecure) site in BlueConic, your browser will block it by default, because browsers do not allow the embedding of nonsecure objects within a secure environment. To avoid this, BlueConic tried first 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 opens 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 domains, 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 to 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 BlueConic could not detect in a normal way (mixed content or i-frame problems). Or you might 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 the sidebars. Once every 24 hours, the views, clicks, and conversions will be removed for simulator profiles so it does not affect your long-term reporting data. (However, profiles keep variants in profile properties that track clicks, conversions, and views of variants.)
To clean up simulation data, click the Clean up button next to the URL address bar. This deletes profiles that were used in the simulation. It also deletes all views, clicks, and conversion data generated during simulation.
You can use the context widget to set the specific context in which you want to view the page and perform your testing and simulation. Here you can specify the device with which you visit the page, the persona that visits the page, and the date and time on which you visit the page.
Choosing a different device affects the following:
- Set the viewport at the resolution of the device you select, which lets you preview how the site would display in other screen resolutions.
- Set the profile properties for this simulation that reflect the device used (e.g. current device, resolution, operating system, etc.). This lets you test BlueConic dialogues 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 can 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 personas because profiles from BlueConic of BlueConic users will otherwise be automatically deleted. You can create other personas from the profile widget.
Create a new Persona by opening the 'Full Profile' from the 'Profile' widget and selecting Save as Persona:
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 using the Import/Export functions.
You can export or import persona definitions to share them with other users of your BlueConic environment. To import or export personas 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' which should activate the persona in the Simulator.
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 uses this date to determine whether dialogues that planned to start or stop at specific dates should be shown.
In the Profile widget, you can see all the properties the current visitor has based on your behavior. The profile properties are shown in three different sections:
- 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 appears when you hover over 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 whose value has changed during the last click or page refresh contain a blue dot.
- The second section shows all profile properties for which the value has changed during the last click or page refresh. To indicate these changes, a blue dot appears next to these values.
- To view the full profile, you can select "show full profile." This opens 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 open a pop-up window where you can adjust the simulated legislation and objectives:
Viewing profile property details
Selecting a profile property in the widget 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 required to be able to store a value in this profile property.|
|Current value||The current value of the profile property. Selecting this value lets you 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. You can change an existing value by clicking on it, and add a new value by clicking on "add value" (which appears on hover). This lets you test how a profile property affects the segments the current user belongs to and therefore which dialogues or interactions will be executed.
Saving a profile as a persona
In the full profile lightbox, a button in the top right corner lets you save this profile to a persona. The values of the profile you are viewing that moment are then stored as a persona, which you can later use in your context widget. Saving as a persona prompts you for a name and image for that persona. You can pick the persona image from a predefined list, or you can upload an image of your own.
Timeline events widget
The Timeline widget shows all BlueConic Timeline events on the current profile's timeline. Contact BlueConic support for information about ways to add Timeline events to profile timelines.
Select Show all Timeline events to see a list of BlueConic Timeline events.
Learn more about BlueConic Timeline events.
The Segments widget provides an overview of segments. The green or red indicator to the right of a segment shows whether the current profile is part of that segment or not, based on its profile property values.
Two categories of segments are displayed in the widget:
- On top of the list are segments in your watchlist. To add or remove a segment on your watchlist, select the glasses icon to the left of a segment in the segment widget or in the "all segments" overview.
- Below all watched segments, the widget displays segments that you either just entered or have just left, based on the latest changes in the profile.
Selecting Show all segments opens a lightbox showing all segments.
By selecting a segment in either the widget or the lightbox, you can view details for that segment:
In the segment details tooltip, you see a table overview of all filter criteria for that segment. For each 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 dialogues or interactions for a specific segment.
In the following example, the current profile does not meet the criteria for the "Engaged subscribers" segment.
The Listeners widget displays all BlueConic listeners that are configured to work on the page 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 is 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 displays all the listeners 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.
Selecting "Hide other listeners" removes the grey or disabled items from the list again and switches the text back to "Show other listeners."
Clicking on a listener in the widget reveals 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 moves the listener to the top of the list.
The Dialogues widget displays all dialogues and variants that are active on the page you are viewing. The dialogues are grouped per position. The dialogues that are actually displayed on the page you are viewing are shown in bold.
When you select a 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.
Use the search option to narrow down the list of dialogues, and to search for specific dialogues or variants. The variants displayed are not grouped; it's a flat long list of all variants where the Where settings didn't match 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 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 a substring in the name of the variant.
Simulation options for Dialogues
You can manipulate the simulation of dialogues on the page in two ways:
- By clicking on the "eye"-symbol in front of a dialogue, you directly switch to previewing that dialogue or variant on that position. The old dialogue on that position is replaced.
- To the right of each dialogue is a colored switch that 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. Now BlueConic's decision engine will make a new decision for each position based on these new statuses.
Clicking on a dialogue in the widget opens 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, for example because the start date is not yet reached, because the status is off, etc.
The connections widget shows all of the connections configured to run on the current channel or page. Use the red or green slider to enable or disable the connection for simulation purposes.
Clicking on a connection opens a window showing details on that connection:
- The connection name, with a link to its configuration page, so you can see or edit those details.
- The type of connection and information about this type of connection.
- A link to watch this connection.
Journey recorder widget
With the journey recorder widget you can record and replay visitor journeys 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 lets you simulate the same journey for people with different profiles, different devices, on another date, or with different dialogues switched on or off.
Recording a new journey
To record a new journey, follow these steps:
- Select "record" in the journey recorder.
- Simulate your journey by navigating and clicking in the webpage visible in the simulator. The following items are recorded:
- URLs entered in the navigation bar
- Items clicked in a page
- Form fields that are filled or manipulated
- When you finish your journey, press the "stop" button in the recorder.
- Next you are 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 menu of available journeys and then press the Play button. This automatically plays 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.
Clicking on the settings button shows the following options:
Recorded journeys are personal and only available to the user who 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 generates a zip-file that can be imported by another user.
This deletes the journey that is currently selected.
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, or when you want to demonstrate the 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 can also remove steps from your journey.