Create or Edit an Audit


Creating an audit is simply configuring instructions for ObservePoint to follow. It is a process of automating what is traditionally a very tedious manual process of looking at each page and evaluating if all the tags are firing with all the correct variables implemented and setting all the correct values. Do this for hundreds of pages and it quickly becomes apparent that an automated audit is going to be more reliable and faster than any traditional, manual approach.

Setting up an audit does not require code to be implemented on a page because when an audit runs, the ObservePoint servers access pages on your site in a browser window. The ObservePoint tool sits inside the browser, visiting links and monitoring all the tag requests passing data to their collection servers as the pages load.

Basic Configuration

The basic configuration is required. Fill out the following fields:

  • Audit Name (required)
    • Best practice is to use short names and use labels to organize your audits. A reminder will pop up encouraging a short name and the use of labels if your name exceeds 40 characters.
  • Folder (required)
    • You can choose a folder or create a new one here. To create a new one, click "create folder" and type in a name. The new folder will show up in My Cards screen and will be available on the folder list inside the audit create screen.
  • Domain (required)
    • Domains help with organization; all audits belong to a domain and all domains have a parent folder. See Add or Edit a Domain. The folder controls which domains you see in the list.
  • Data Layer (optional)
    • If you choose to define a domain in the audit screen, you may also define a data layer for it. See Add or Edit a Domain. If you leave it blank, you may add it later, but you won't be able to audit the data layer until it is defined.
  • Starting URL (required)
    • The Starting URL field can hold one or more URLs to visit during the audit. These pages will be visited first in the audit. If the audit has not reached the page limit, it will use the include and exclude filters (see below) to guide it to additional pages. Use this field to load pages that may not be accessible from links on your site, such as landing pages.
  • Send notifications (optional)
    • Type in as many email addresses as needed to receive alerts when the audit completes.

This is all you need to set up an audit; click Save Audit to begin running it automatically.

Advanced Options (optional)

Use the Advanced Options to configure other settings that help control the audit. Click the Advanced Options link at the bottom of the Create an Audit window to access additional settings. This link is only available when initially creating the audit; the next time you edit the it, the edit screen automatically displays in full screen with tabs for Basic Setup and the other advanced sections.

  • Page Limit
    • The page limit controls how many pages are scanned during the audit. The default  is 500 pages. It is recommended that you start with a small audit (10-25 pages) the first few times you create an audit so you can get the results back quickly to help you evaluate if you need to make any changes. You can always come back into the audit, change the number of pages, and re-run it. Best practice is to audit up to 10,000 pages; usually fewer. Most audits accessing more pages than this don't give additional insight, but show more of the same problems or reveal edge cases not worth spending the time fixing. If you find you have a very clean site after auditing 10,000 pages, it would likely be more useful to check out the integrity of your rules than expand to more pages.
      Leaving this field blank causes the audit to default to 50 pages when it is saved.
  • Location
    • The location determines what IP address the servers use to access pages on your site. Changing this is useful if you have geo-based content or restrictions on your site--for example, a retail site for mobile phones in England may not show the same content to browsers from North America. By default the location is set to a non-proxy in Oregon, United States (Pacific Time Zone). Most audits do not need to run on a proxy.
  • Use a Custom Proxy (optional)
    • A custom proxy (if enabled on your account) allows you to choose a proxy service of your choice to access web pages. This is particularly helpful for global enterprises who have geographic-specific functionality on their websites. Enter the IP address (including the protocol) to override any other Location setting. To enable custom proxies, contact your data governance consultant. If custom proxies are set on some audits and it is later disabled for the account, the location field will revert to the default setting.
  • Browser Width Override (optional)
    • Use this to change the viewport size (in pixels) of the browser window. It defaults to a standard desktop size, but can be changed to imitate the size of a mobile device. If you choose a mobile size (375 pixels, for example) also choose a User Agent that corresponds to the mobile device (Safari Mobile (10) - iPhone, for example).
  • Run Frequency
    • Schedule the audit to run at regular intervals, such as weekly. If you set it to run once, it can be run on-demand later.

      An audit will automatically pause when it is ignored for a long time.
  • Starting Date
    • For new audits, the first one always runs as soon as you save it unless you've changed the start date to the future. If the frequency is set to Once, the Starting Date cannot be selected and the audit will begin as soon as it is saved.
  • Starting Time
    • Select a time of day for the audit to run. If an audit is still running when the next scheduled time to run passes, the new run is skipped so the current run can finish. In that case an email is sent with a message to consider changing the frequency of the audit. If the frequency is set to Once, the Starting Time cannot be selected and the audit will begin as soon as it is saved.
  • User Agent
    • The user agent string identifies the browser and operating system to the web server. It contains the type and version of both browser and operating system. Because servers may respond differently to various user agents, best practice is to set up three or four identical audits and change the few user agents to the top browsers to access your site. To ensure data accuracy we recommend auditing with both desktop and mobile device user agents. Firefox is selected by default.
  • Include List
    • All pages referenced in the Include List are eligible to be loaded during the audit and are given priority. The number next to it indicates the maximum number of pages for that filter. The list does not, however, guarantee that all the pages in the list will be loaded. See the Include Limits Filter KB article.This field can contain exact URLs, partial URLs, or regular expressions. By default, the first Starting Page URL is placed here automatically as a regular expression that permits both secure and insecure pages as well as pages on any sub domain, such as www or dev to be a part of the audit. Typically you won't change anything in this box unless you want an audit directed to specific areas of your site. In that case, add lines with directory(ies) that you want the audit to scan. Another use case is for performing cross-domain or self-referral auditing where you need to start the audit on one domain and end on another. To do this, type in the domains you want to traverse; for complex URL patterns, use a regular expression (see the ObservePoint tester).
  • Exclude List
    • The Exclude List prevents URLs from being audited. You may use exact URLs, partial URLs, or regular expressions, just as you would in the Include List. It is common practice to exclude a logout link if the audit has a user session (e.g.: /logout, meaning exclude any URL with the string /logout from being visited). See the ObservePoint tester for regular expressions.
  • Complete Webhook URL
    • A webhook is a way to setup a notification system so that when the ObservePoint servers have completed an Audit, another application can be notified. The field to enter the Webhook URL is under Advanced Setup for Audits. Whatever URL you enter for the Webhook URL, the audit triggers that URL when it is complete. The URL entered for the Webhook must be an HTTP endpoint that receives POST requests.
  • Remote File Mapping
    • Allows you to test scripts/libraries on pages in your production environment without actually inserting the script/library onto the page. See RFM for more details
  • Load Videos
    • This setting turns on video support in the browser. By default it is turned on and allows the video to start playing if it is set to autoplay and mute. If you have many auto-play videos on your site, turning off this setting will run the audit more quickly.
  • Reduce Server Load
    • By default audits will visit your site with 10 simultaneous servers. This can mean dozens of page views per minute from the same IP address. The problem is that this can cause the website's firewall to mistakenly identify the visits as malicious. Checking this box will reduce the number of servers to one. A better alternative is to have your IT department whitelist all the ObservePoint IP addresses that could hit your site. See ObservePoint Whitelisting and Proxy List.
  • Template Mode
  • VPN
    • If enabled, Virtual Private Networks allow outside access to secure content. The VPN settings must be configured by an administrator and are enabled by contract (see Accessing Content Through VPN).
  • Adobe Auditor
    • If enabled, turning on Adobe Auditor creates a new report that compares your audit results to a battery of unit tests from Adobe. See Adobe Auditor Reporting. While you could run the audit inside of Auditor itself, running it from within ObservePoint allows you to access the complete audit functionality, including scan limit, user sessions and multiple starting URLs.
  • Lock URLs
    • It will allow a user to audit the same pages that were found during a specific previous run. When this is enabled the starting pages, page limit and filters options are disabled and become irrelevant since we will not perform a crawl and instead audit only the URLs from the source run. This feature will be very useful when running comparisons and when a custom wants to have a static set of pages audited. If you want to update the URLs it is locked to you'll need to unlock the audit, run it again and then lock it once you are satisfied with the URL set.

Rules Tab

The rule tab lets you assign pre-built rules or create new ones on-the-fly. Rules can look for tags, accounts and variables on a page. In addition, you can filter which pages a rule runs on by URL, tags found, status codes and variables. See Applying Rules to Audits and Journeys for setup instructions.

User Session Tab

The user session allows you to set up a login to access secure content or define other parameters that need to be defined at the beginning of the audit and carried through the session, such as setting a language or country cookie. The user session is executed before the starting page(s). If you set up a login, you may also need to use the Exclude filter to prevent the audit from executing any logout links.

To create a login, see Create or Edit a Web Journey for instructions on setting up actions. Most likely you will either want to create an Action Set out of these steps or use an existing Action Set to add in your configured login process from another journey or audit.

Actions Tab

Actions are steps that can be taken during an audit to interact with the page in the same way you might expect a user to. Actions can be limited to execute on every page or only on pages that meet specific URL patterns.

See Create or Edit a Web Journey for instructions on setting up actions.

Turn on Prevent Navigation to so that the browser doesn't go to the destination page on an action that would:

  • Load another page, if doing so would interfere with the flow of the audit (such as with an exit link)
  • Load another window or tab. Audits can only work in a single window or tab.
  • Load a binary file, such as a PDF document. Audits can only browse web documents, such as HTML files.

Here are some examples of when you may need to use an action in an audit:

  • Confirm that a button can be clicked and that it passes analytics data as expected.
  • Verify that tags are firing as expected on all download links. If there is a downloads section of the site, set up a filter to only execute the download click on pages where downloads are available.
  • Click an exit link to be sure that the link is firing the expected analytics. Selecting Prevent Navigation will click the link and capture the analytics but not load the destination page.
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