When you’re creating a website, end-users and customers do not view it the same way you do as an admin (administrator). Some things may be hidden from them and if you are controlling content access people may not be granted the views you want them to see. This is particularly true with Online Courses, Membership Sites and Shopping Carts where people must login.

Fortunately, there is a Google Chrome Tool called Incognito that will allow you to experience your website from the user’s perspective. Technically, Incognito is a way to browse the Internet privately. Chrome doesn’t save your browsing history, cookies and site data, and information entered into forms. Since the browser data isn’t saved or pulled from cache from your other Chrome tabs, you can login as a different user and check their experience in the website.

Steps for Using Incognito

From your Chrome window, select File > New Incognito Window or press Shift Command N on the keyboard.

Screengrab of Google Chrome File Menu

This opens an Incognito Chrome Window. It explains that when browsing incognito, your history will not be tracked. This window doesn’t see the access or logins that your main Chrome tags have. From here, you can login to your website as a user and see their perspective of the site.

Screengrab of Google Chrome Incognito Window

If you want to return to your non-incognito open Chrome tags, Select Window from the menu. You’ll see the other Windows you have open. You can move back and forth between your Incognito window and other tabs.

When you are incognito, you can find information about your windows on the top right area of the window. The number in parenthesis shows how many Incognito windows are open. 

Screengrab of Incognito window top right showing how many windows are open

To exit Incognito, click on the above information button and select Exit Incognito.

Screengrab of Exit Incognito option to Close the Incognito window


Transcript of Using Incognito to View Your Site from the Customer’s Perspective


Hey everybody. It’s Kim Shivler. Welcome today. I’m going to show you how to check out your site from your user’s perspective. If you’re building a website and you’re logged in here as administrator, you’re going to see things different than a subscriber or just a guest user. This is particularly important when you’re building learning management systems like we’ve been talking about or membership sites, or even shopping carts, where people are going to have to check out and register to be members of your site. When you’re working with users and a site is live and you just want to, they’re having a problem. And you’re just want to see what their screen shows. There’s actually a really cool plugin called switch user. And I’ll share that with you in a future post, but in the case where you really want to experience the site as a different user register, go through a process. For example, a course, what you want to do is use the incognito window. That’s what Chrome calls it. Now. Other browsers have their own similar option for that, because right now, if I just click and open a new tab and go to my site,


it’s still knows I’m logged in. So anything I’m seeing is going to be reflective of that. If however, I wanted to go to the site, click on my new incognito window, and now I’m going to go in as one of my, what is for me right now, a test user, because I’m just setting up this new online course training site. So I’m going to go to that. And I’m going to click on login.

(02:03): Login as a Student to See What They See

I’m going to enter my email and my password, and now I’m going to be seeing the site as they see it. So if I click over here on my screen flow basics, what I’m seeing is the student view. I’m not enrolled yet. It’s free, but I’m not enrolled. So I’m going to go ahead and click on take this course. And this is just a free course. I’m adding for the students so that they can learn how to use ScreenFlow within their business. So it allows me then to start looking through the class and working through it as a student, once I’m done, I can actually close out this window by clicking here on my red X or I can actually, if I need to go back and forth between the two configurations, I can click here on window. This takes me back to that admin view.

(03:07): Edit in the Admin Screen and Update the Incognito to See the Changes

Let’s close it to this tab, to my admin view so that if I want to make a change, I want to add some text to a lesson, et cetera. I can do that here. And then when I come back over to the other option, I can refresh the screen and see it. That’s a really helpful tip for testing your site as you’re building it. If you happen to be someone building sites for other people, and they also have admin access, you may want to give them this tip so that they can track it and they can test it without actually seeing their admin login so they can see what a non-administrator would see. I’m Kim Shivler. I’ll see you next time. Thanks for joining me. Bye.