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Optimizely Knowledge Base

QA: Whitelisting users in a Full Stack test

relevant products:
  • Optimizely X Full Stack

  • Use whitelisting to QA by forcing users into variations in Full Stack tests

Use whitelisting to override the default behavior of the SDK by forcing users into particular variations in a test. In Full Stack projects, you can use whitelisting to QA your tests. Publish your test live and enable whitelists to show specified variations to a few, select users. When you activate the test for these users, they can bypass audience targeting and traffic allocation to always see the variation you specify for them. Users who aren't whitelisted must pass audience targeting and traffic allocation to see the live test and variations.

For example, imagine that you create a test that compares Variation A and Variation B. You want to QA the test's live behavior and show the variations to a few key stakeholders. Create a whitelist that includes the user IDs for the people who should see the live test.

To ensure that only your whitelisted users can see the test, create an audience targeted to an attribute no user will have or set the test's traffic allocation to 0%. After QA is complete, establish your production settings for audience targeting and traffic allocation.

Optimizely allows you to whitelist up to 10 users per test.

The user IDs used in the whitelist must match the user IDs passed through the SDK in activate(). Otherwise, whitelisting will not work. These user IDs are often anonymous and cryptic (for example, a cookie value), and you have to copy and paste them.

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Create a whitelist

Here's how to create a whitelist for a test in a Full Stack project.

  1. Navigate to the Experiments dashboard.

  2. Click the Actions icon () for the test. Click Whitelist.

  3. Specify user IDs and corresponding variations you want to force for those users.

    In this example, we forced one visitor into variation_a and two visitors into variation_b.

When to use whitelisting

Use whitelisting only for preview, testing, and QA. You can also use whitelisting when you're unit testing your tests in code with a mock datafile.

Use whitelisting for no more than 10 user IDs. Forcing variations with a large number of user IDs will bias your test results, so we limit you to 10.

To target a test to a larger group of users for QA, such as all employees in your organization or a staging environment, use audiences instead. Create an attribute that every user in the group will share, and target the test to an audience that contains that attribute.