Preview - previewing an activity before publishing

This article is for Citizen Space administrators wishing to preview their own activities. Find out how to share a preview of your activity with non-administrators.

The first section of the article is a short run through of how preview mode works. You can then find out troubleshooting tips and some useful things to know about preview mode, such as how it works in non-linear surveys.

This first section will go through how to:

  1. Enter preview mode
  2. Review your activity
  3. Preview for mobiles or smaller devices
  4. Get out of preview mode

Step 1 - Enter preview mode

You can preview your activity at any time by selecting Preview Activity on the dashboard or from within the 'Online Survey' building section. It doesn't matter if your activity is published or not, the preview will still work.

Top of Dashboard with Preview Activity link highlighted.

Step 2 - Review your activity

When previewing the activity you will see a yellow bar along the top which allows you to choose whether you're previewing the activity overview page as it will look when it is open, closed or forthcoming. The default view shows you the activity as open. Learn more about the difference between these 3 states.

Preview mode yellow control bar appears at the top of the activity when in preview mode. You can use the dropdown menu to move through the pages, and leave preview button to exit preview mode.

It's also possible to jump to any individual page in an activity to preview it, including the 'Almost done' page and the submitted response page to view your completion message. When in preview mode use the dropdown in the yellow bar to select the page you wish to preview and select 'go'. This is an especially useful feature if you have required questions, or a very long activity.

When building an activity in 'Online Survey', the 'Preview' link appears toward the top left of your screen. if you select preview there to see the question you have just added then Citizen Space will jump you straight to that page to see your work. Selecting 'Leave Preview' will take you back into the survey building section.

Step 3 - Preview for mobiles or smaller devices

You can get a very good feel for what an activity will look like on a mobile or smaller device by looking at it in a small browser window.

It's easy to resize your browser window. In your browser, open a new window and drag the corners of the window box to expand or contract it. 

Note: Of course, the best way to really know what your activity will be like on a mobile or tablet is to actually look at it on one of those devices. Here's a handy article on some tips and hints on how to optimise your activity for mobile.

Step 4 - Getting out of preview mode

If you wish to exit preview mode, select the 'Leave preview' button in the top right hand corner. This will take you back to where you started from, either the dashboard or back into your activity build.

Troubleshooting and things to be aware of in preview mode

Preview mode does not store cookies so it will not save any of your answers after you move to a different page. This is deliberate as otherwise the memory of your site would be full of responses tested in preview mode. However, since it doesn't store any answers when previewing, there are a few things to be aware of:

In non-linear surveys

In a live non-linear survey, a respondent visits the contents page and chooses which chapter they want to begin with, and are then brought back to the contents page after each chapter of questions they complete. They will only be shown the 'Finish' button on the contents page once they have answered any of your required questions or visited at least one chapter and continued back to the contents.

As preview mode does not store the information that a page has been visited or any question answered, the 'Finish' button will never appear in preview mode - please trust us that it will in real life! You can still see what the 'Almost done' page and the completion page look like using the dropdown list in the preview bar, as described in the step by step instructions above. More information about non-linear surveys can be found in this article.

The email address field on the Almost done page

In preview mode you will always see the email address field on the 'Almost done' page, which is a feature to allow respondents to receive a copy of their response via email should they wish. In live activities, if you have left in the default email address question and your respondent has answered it then they would not be shown this field to enter their address again, they would automatically be sent a copy of their response to the address they had already given in your question. However, in preview mode, even if you have the default email address question and you've answered it during testing, your answer won't be stored so the email address field on the final page will still be shown to you in preview mode. More information about the 3 default Citizen Space questions can be found in this article.