Upgrading the Absorb Interface


This high-level guide walks you through the steps and considerations of upgrading your portal to Absorb's current interface.

In This Article

Your Portal's Preview URL

Your portal is configured with a temporary preview URL which allows you to view your upgraded portal before making it live for all users. This route allows admins to make interface-specific updates in the Admin User Interface (UI), and provides a preview of the Learner UI.

Important Note: Changes to your portal content (courses, learners, enrollment keys, enrollment rules, etc.) affects your portal's live data. Your learners will see and be affected by any changes you make to your content.

Portal Design

The Absorb interface provides you with a number of design options, including the ability to create distinct learner-facing templates for each of your departments. This includes the ability to create custom public-facing dashboards. Please refer to the Templates & Themes article for information on the available customization features.

The best practice to edit a departmental template is through the Admin interface > Settings > Templates section to ensure you are editing the correct template. You can also take a look at some branding samples.

Reference articles:

  • Templates & Themes - An overview and how-to guide on creating templates on your portal.
  • LMS Customization Guidelines - contains functionality descriptions, recommended image dimensions, and more for the various design aspects of the learner experience.
  • Color Variable Guide - explains which color options in a template's Theme tab affect which elements in a portal.

Breaking Changes

Single Sign-On

If your portal incorporates Single Sign On (SSO), you will have to update Absorb's ACS URL in your IdP in order for it to function after your upgrade.

For details, please refer to Updating Incoming Single Sign On Metadata.

Deep Links

In tandem with the Single Sign-On upgrade, deep links have also undergone an update. To ensure continued functionality, please update your deep links to conform with the current Deep Linking specification.

Record Other Training

The Record Other Training feature has been replaced with External Training. The External Training feature is a newly developed feature with which your portal's Record Other Training data is incompatible.

Important Note: Your Record Other Training data will become inaccessible after the upgrade. Export a report of your Record Other Training prior to finishing the upgrade process.

If it is necessary to import your Record Other Training data into Absorb's External Training module, please reach out to your Client Success Manager.

Complex Tasks

Complex Tasks (Certificate, Assignment, Self Reported) have been replaced by new, discrete functionality:

Complex Task Type (Old) Current Interface Function
Assignment Course Uploads
Self Reported External Training
Certificate Certificate Upload - April Release

After the upgrade, Complex Task data will remain in the tasks report, however the complex task objects in your courses will disappear and will need to be replaced by one of the options above.

Contests (Mercury)

Contests have been replaced with leaderboards for portals subscribing to the optional Mercury module. Leaderboards offer a flexible dashboard to enhance the way admins can encourage learner competition and collaboration.

Interface Features

Familiarize yourself with Absorb's features, particularly those introduced in the current interface that you may not yet be acclimated to using:

Interface Considerations

Some interface features (FAQs, News articles, E-Commerce, etc.) have new/changed default settings. Ensure that you're aware of these considerations when upgrading your interface: Interface Considerations.


Important Note: When testing, be cognizant that you are manipulating your portal's live data. Your learners will see and be affected by any changes you make to course descriptions, enrollment rules, etc.

Design Testing

You can test your departmental templates by impersonating a user in each department with a unique template to confirm the desired setup.

While your preview URL will work for viewing all Private Dashboards, including department dashboards, it will not work for Public Dashboards that are department-specific. To view these department-specific Public Dashboards, you will require a specific test URL for each department.

To obtain a department-specific URL, System Admins can contact support and request additional URLs for each Template that offers a department-specific Public Dashboard. Please Note: If all of your Public Dashboards simply inherit the primary/parent template settings, or you only have one template, then additional routes will not be necessary.

Mobile Testing

You can use your browser's developer tools to simulate different devices (e.g. phone, tablet) with which to access your portal. The following example uses the Google Chrome browser:

  1. Open the developer tools window by pressing the Ctrl+Shift+J (Windows) or Ctrl+Option+J (Mac)
  2. Click on the devices icon in the top left side of the developer tools window
  3. You can select from the predefined device sizes, or manually enter your own to preview your portal's design on different screen dimensions:

SSO Testing

You can test your SSO configuration by either creating a new, temporary, configuration profile in your IdP and setting the ACS URL to yourcompany.myabsorb.com/api/rest/v2/authentication/saml, replacing yourcompany.myabsorb.com with your portal's URL. Ensure that you also review and test your deep links.

If you experience issues with your SSO testing, ensure you've read the Updating Incoming Single Sign On Metadata article, and feel free to contact our support team for further assistance.

Course Testing

While course behavior has not changed, the course page design has been updated. Review the newly added course posters, images, and description format.

User Testing

At this point, you may choose to provide your preview URL to a subset of your users to test the upgraded portal and provide you with feedback.


With the increased customization features of the Absorb interface, your learner user interface may look different after the upgrade depending on the design choices you make. You may wish to send an e-mail to your learners letting them know to expect a change to their interface. The degree in which your learner experience differs will vary depending on the design choices made using the increased customization features of the Absorb interface.

You can communicate the upcoming change in a number of ways, for example, you could create an introductory course and set it as your portal's on-login course or automatically enroll all of your portal's users, or simply e-mail your learners informing them of the upcoming change.

Terms & Conditions

When upgrading to the current interface your portals Terms & Conditions will no longer be available from the portal settings on the Administrator Interface (Require First Use Terms & Conditions - under the Users tab on the old interface). Instead these will now be set/modified by selecting a template from your portals template list (On the current interface choose Setup Icon - Templates). Once you have selected the template you wish to modify from your portals template list, choose Edit from the right hand Actions menu that populates. This will bring you to the edit template page, from here select the Settings tab then expand the Terms & Conditions drop down to display additional related options.


Please note that if currently making use of Terms & Conditions prior to upgrading, these terms and conditions will not be added to existing templates automatically and must be done manually before switching to ensure users are still required to accept upon first access to the portal.


Once you are ready to upgrade your portal, navigate to your Portal Settings > Users tab and toggle on Enable New Learner Experience For All Learners. Please note, once toggled on you will be unable to revert the change so be sure you're ready before enabling.

Post-Launch Support

Congratulations on a successful upgrade! You may receive questions from your learners or have additional questions as you fine-tune and explore the available options. Remember that our Knowledge Base, Support Team, and your Client Success Manager are all available to help.

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