A guide might not display as expected or stop displaying entirely for a variety of reasons, such as changes to your application, changes to Page rules, element targets that rely on user inputs, or custom code. This article summarizes how to interpret and work with Guide Alerts. To access this information, navigate to Guides from the left-side menu and open the Guide Alerts tab.
Alerts are only generated by actual visitors attempting to use the guide. An alert triggers when a guide step doesn't display for a target visitor within a specified amount of time. You can change the specified time. For information, see Alerts table configuration in this article.
A guide step can have multiple alerts, one for each alert type, and a guide can have alerts for each guide step. Each guide step can have up to three alerts, one for each alert type.
The data is limited by the date range and app chosen in the filters at the top of the page.
The Top Stats underneath the filters summarizes the number of impacted guide steps in each alert status for the selected date range and app: Not Reviewed, Triage, and Resolved. Muted alerts are aren't included in the counts.
The Alerts table below this section lists each guide step that didn't display for visitors (Impacted Step) for the selected date range and app. It includes the following optional columns, which you can customize by selecting the Manage Columns icon in the top-right of the table:
The type of situation that prompted the alert. The action needed to fix an alert depends on your guide and this column provides a starting point. For guidance, see the Investigate guide alerts section in this article.
Whether you've reviewed the alert based on whether it's labeled as Not Reviewed (default), Triage, or Resolved. To avoid duplication of work, change the status of your alerts to Triage to show that they're under investigation, and Resolved to show that the issue has been addressed.
The number of visitors that didn't see the guide step. Alerts are only generated by actual visitors attempting to use the guide.
The total number of visitors that saw the guide of the impacted step was last updated.
The percentage of visitors that didn't see the guide step, which is calculated by dividing the Visitors Impacted by the Total Visitors and multiplying that value by 100.
|First Alert Date||
The date of the first alert for the impacted step. The actual first alert date might be outside of the selected date range in your filters. Widen the date range in your filters to check.
|Last Alert Date||
The date of the most recent alert for the impacted step. The actual last alert date might be outside of the selected date range in your filters. Widen the date range in your filters to check.
The application that the guide of the impacted step belongs to.
The segment that the impacted step is targeted at.
The activation method of the guide of the impacted step belongs to.
|Last Updated By||
The internal user that last updated the guide of the impacted step.
|Last Updated Time||
The time that the guide of the impacted step was last updated.
Alerts table configuration
Select the Manage Columns icon in the top right of the Alerts table to add, remove, and change the order of the columns in the table.
Each column in the Alerts table can be sorted by selecting the column header in the table. Sorting by Visitors Impacted or Alert Rate helps to prioritize the most significant alerts.
For further prioritization, controls on each alert in the Alerts table allow you to change the status and mute the alert. You can also change the visibility for muted alerts, group alerts by guide, and change alert settings.
Show Muted Alerts displays all muted alerts in the table. The number next to this option indicates the current number of muted alerts in the table.
Group By Guide organizes alerts for steps by guide so that all alerts for a single guide can be managed collectively. Grouping by guide limits the effectiveness of sorting columns. Alerts are sorted within the context of the guide groups and it can be more difficult to identify the most significant display issues with this view.
Alert Settings contains the Display Error Threshold setting, which controls how much time should elapse before a display alert is triggered. The default time is 10 seconds.
Investigate guide alerts
The Alerts table is a tool to help you maintain situational awareness of your in-app messaging. After receiving a guide alert, explore the table to investigate the cause of the alert, identify and resolve issues, and then follow up with visitors as necessary. Your root cause analysis and response processes are unique to your organization.
Change alert status
First, to mark that an alert is being investigated, select Triage from the Alert Status dropdown for that step. This lets other users in your subscription know what alerts are being worked on and helps you keep track of alerts that haven't been reviewed yet.
Investigate the impacted step
Next, look at the Alert Type for the impacted step.
- Page Mismatch tells you that the guide step couldn't display because the visitor's current URL didn't match the Page selected in Location settings for the guide step.
- Element Missing tells you that the guide step couldn't display because the target element selected in Location settings for the guide step wasn't present.
- Other can include any cause other than Page Mismatch or Element Missing, such as issues with custom code, applications errors, or connectivity problems.
When investigating the impacted step, consider the other available information in the Alerts table and the significance of the guide content when making a decision on remediation and next steps. An alert during a straightforward feature walkthrough is unfortunate but might not introduce any risk. An alert for a critical notification might require further investigation and follow-up.
Assess the severity
Visitors Impacted and Alert Rate indicate the severity of the issue.
Visitors Impacted reports the number of visitors who didn't see the impacted guide step. Select the number to see a list of these visitors. From the list, you can select an individual Visitor ID to see their timeline and identify why they might not have seen the step, like whether they selected the wrong element in a walkthrough or navigated to the wrong URL. Download the entire visitor list as a CSV to create a segment for additional analysis or to communicate with the entire group of impacted users.
Alert Rate reports the proportion of visitors that triggered an alert compared to the total number of visitors. A percentage above 50% indicates that most users didn't have that guide step display as expected. A lower percentage might mean that the alert is isolated to certain users or is a false positive.
Understand the timeframe
Use alert dates (First Alert Date and Last Alert Date) to understand when the alert took place and identify a timeframe for the issue. This can be insightful if the timing aligns with any changes in your app or Pendo tags that incidentally affect the guide. Alternatively, it might be that the guide always presented an issue and needs to be redesigned. The actual issue causing the alert might have originated earlier than the First Alert Date and might continue to exist after the Last Alert Date.
The first and last alert date columns show the first and last alert within the date range selected in the filters at the top of the page. The actual first and last recorded alert might be outside of the selected date range. Investigate a wider date range to ensure you've found the entire timeframe of the issue.
Look at guide details
To investigate further, go to the details page for that guide by selecting the step from the Impacted Step column.
For a single-step guide, troubleshoot the issue by looking at Page Location and Target Element in the Activation tile. To change these settings, open the Visual Design Studio by selecting Manage in my app.
For multi-step guides, troubleshoot the issue by opening the Visual Design Studio to see the settings for a specific step. In the Content section of the guide's details, hover the relevant step and select Launch Designer.
If you have Page Mismatch or Element Missing alerts, open the Location tab in Container Settings, which is the default tab upon opening the Visual Design Studio. Ensure you're on the correct URL in your application and that the UI is in the correct context for the guide step. For more complicated guides, like walkthroughs, you might need to navigate through your app before you can begin troubleshooting the settings.
For a Page Mismatch alert, check whether the selected location still works. Select a new Page or tag a new Page if the Page Location is incorrect. For an Element Missing alert, check whether the target element is present and that the targeting rule identifies the expected element. Retarget a new element if your target element is incorrect.
To troubleshoot an Other alert type, investigate the guide content. Check custom elements for the guide, like code blocks, to determine if a technical issue might have interrupted the guide. If you can't find any defects in the guide, look for other causes outside of the guide content and settings.
Resolve an alert
When you've found the root cause of the alert and successfully troubleshooted it, change the status to Resolved. Select Resolved from the Alert Status dropdown for that step. The status stays resolved unless another alert is triggered. If another alert is triggered, the alert status changes back to Not Reviewed.
Mute an alert
The sensitivity of guide alerts and certain guide design choices can result in false positives that accidentally trigger an alert. For these instances, you can mute the alert so that it's hidden and doesn't continue to display as Not Reviewed whenever another false positive alert is triggered.
For example, if you target a guide step for an element that doesn't appear until a user activates it or appears after a process runs in your application, the expected delay might trigger an Element Missing alert because the element wasn't present before the display error threshold elapsed. In this case, nothing is technically wrong with the guide. Rather, the visitor or application didn't behave as expected. In these situations, you can mute the alert to hide it from the Alerts table.
To mute the alert, hover over the row for the impacted step in the table, and select the Mute Alert (bell) icon at the end of the row, next to the notes (speech bubble) icon. This hides the alert from the table for all Pendo users and prevents additional alerts from making the alert visible.
If you decide you want to display muted alerts in the table, select Show Muted Alerts at the top of the Alerts table.
Add a note
You might have details and context that can supplement the alert data. You can add notes to include information that isn't available in one of the columns of the Alerts table. For example, if you have a team handling your alerts, you can create an audit trail of work and notify other internal users:
- That an issue is being handled to avoid duplicating work.
- When you find the root cause of a problem and what that problem is.
- When you're fixing the guide and how.
These notes act as a reminder and help you to communicate with other Pendo users in your subscription. For muted alerts, notes are also useful for explaining why an alert is muted.
To add a note to an alert, hover over the row for the impacted step in the table, and select the Show Notes (speech bubble) icon at the end of the row, next to the mute (bell) icon.
Type your note in the panel that opens on the right and then select Add Note. The note displays in a feed of notes under the date, time, and username of the person that added the note. You can edit or delete your note as needed. An edited note has "(edited)" added to the end of the message but the date and timestamp don't change.
If an impacted step already has notes associated with it, the speech bubble icon has a number next to it, indicating the number of notes already written about it.
Frequently asked questions
Can guide display alerts predict when guides will break?
No. Alerts are reactive and don't catch guide display issues before they occur. Visitor interaction with a guide triggers an alert. We don't currently have the ability to automatically test published guides.
I have a display alert, but I've tested the guide and there's nothing wrong with it.
There is likely the occasional false positive when the guide is working properly. The error might have been triggered by unexpected behavior, such as a network error, use of code blocks, or complex activation settings. Muting an "Other" alert type to silence false positives won't silence other alert types and you are still notified if there are issues with the Page or element targets. You can periodically check muted alerts to ensure there haven't been any significant increases in the alert rate.