Testing Flows

We built Appcues to help you produce native content - experiences you build using the platform should feel like your product. With that in mind, there are tools designed for you to review and share your flows with others on your team before they go live to an end-user. We'll cover the three main approaches to testing your flow content below:


Preview mode is a tool in the Appcues Builder for reviewing content while in the building process. It's great for quickly walking through the flow as an end-user would.

What you can do with Preview mode:
  • Review what a single flow will look like on your site
  • Interact with your page to:
    • Find and view hotspots/tooltips that are built on dynamic elements
    • Preview tooltips
    • Interact with form fields or embedded content
To enter Preview mode, find the preview button (it looks like an 👁️) inside the Appcues Builder.
Notes on Preview mode
  • Preview mode requires the Appcues Builder to be installed. For allowing teammates to review flows that don't have the Appcues Builder (or access to your account), see Test mode.
  • Preview mode won't show how flows link together. To review a set of connected flows, see publishing to a staging / internal environment.
  • Preview mode also won't fill in user properties for content personalization. Both Test mode and publishing internally are better options for that.

Test mode

Test mode is for allowing teammates to review your flows in a live environment, without requiring them to log in to Appcues or install the Appcues Builder.

What you can do with Test mode:
  • Review how your flows will look and behave in a live environment, outside the Appcues Builder.
  • Endlessly review a flow intended for only certain users and to only be shown a limited number of times.
  • Test your page targeting, to ensure your flow will work across URLs, including dynamic pages.
  • Share links with teammates, so they can review the flow "live".
To launch Test mode, find the button on the flow settings page.

This will open a modal with a link to your test. The link provided can be shared with teammates as well.

Notes on Test mode:
  • Audience targeting and frequency targeting are both ignored in Test mode. This is so you can test the flow as many times as you'd like, and don't have to get your user in the right state to see the flow.
  • Analytics are also ignored in Test mode - so flows being tested won't show up in flow performance numbers (same with any forms submitted, etc.)

Publishing in a staging environment

Publishing to an internal environment is the best way to test how flows interact with other flows, and to make sure it obeys user and frequency targeting.

What you can do with publishing to an internal environment:
  • test whether user properties and events are working correctly.
  • See how multiple live flows will interact.
  • test user and frequency targeting - e.g. the flow only shows once, and for brand new users.

To publish to a staging environment:

First, add your staging environment to the Available Domains list in your settings (must be admin).

Then, in your page targeting, choose your internal or staging environment from the domains list:

After that, you can publish safely just to the internal environment. 

This approach does put the flow live, but it requires you to have a safe internal environment. If this doesn't exist, there is another approach, creating a testers segment. We'll cover that below.

Creating internal segments

If you're lacking an internal testing environment or domain, there is an alternative approach that still allows for seeing how multiple flows interact. It involves creating a segment containing your internal testers and then publishing a flow targeted only for that group. See the Segments Overview guide for more on segments.

Here's an example using specific email addresses the users will have:

You could also target with "Email *contains* @yourcompanynamehere.com", or target just their user IDs in your system, all depends on the context.

Troubleshooting flows during testing

If, during testing, your flows aren't appearing as you would expect, open the Debugger and check out the Flow Diagnostics / Eligibility for your user. See the troubleshooting guide on flows not showing properly for more info.

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