Improving access for Bupa’s 45m customers; From accessibility audits to a full-service accessibility strategy

Nexer partnered with Bupa to make their products and services more accessible and cultivate an inclusive culture through accessibility audits, inclusive usability testing, and training and awareness-raising for teams across the organisation. 

Bupa is a British multinational health insurance and healthcare company with circa 45 million customers worldwide. Bupa came to us with a goal to make their products, services and teams more inclusive.

Recognising room for improvement across their digital platforms (apps, web services, and hybrid experiences), Bupa partnered with Nexer to conduct an initial accessibility audit focused on their website's search function. This led to the development and implementation of multi-disciplinary accessibility training programs, ranging from online workshops to in-person sessions and targeted role-based training, which engaged a broad spectrum of Bupa personnel. The training culminated in a pop-up accessibility lab with executive team participation, embedding knowledge and raising awareness across the entire organisation.

Accessibility audit

We began by conducting an audit of the Bupa digital estate. Our review covered 36 key website pages. We tested the pages using automated tools, assistive technologies, and a variety of devices and browsers, evaluating for compliance with the WCAG 2.2 guidelines and beyond the standard.

To ensure that the audit process kept service users at the heart of our work, we focused on several core user journeys. These were:

  • Exploring health insurance brochures

  • Obtaining quotes and purchasing Bupa By You insurance
  • Utilising Pay As You Go services and booking processes
  • Navigating the Mental Health Hub
  • Engaging with the Get Treatment Hub
  • Utilising the search function
  • Evaluating an additional 10% of pages through random sampling (WCAG-EM methodology)

The accessibility audit identified 418 areas for improvement, including form labels, mobile functionality, keyboard accessibility, use of colour as a communicator, and colour contrast.

Supporting inclusive culture change and knowledge transfer

Bupa had originally planned to brief their Digital team on the identified issues and proceed with embedding WCAG processes into their development as a checklist. However, it became clear that a focus on task-based fixes would likely not address the gaps in knowledge across the team and the lack of familiarity with the guidelines in the long term. 

Instead, we switched focus to training teams on accessibility best practices, focusing on user needs when prioritising accessibility features, and building an accessibility culture within the organisation. We also ran inclusive usability sessions, with participation from the Bupa user research team, and audited a range of other Bupa products for accessibility and inclusion issues.

Inclusive usability testing

We ran an inclusive usability study on Bupa’s healthcare information online, focusing specifically on the search directory. The study had two main objectives; to assess the usability and accessibility of health information content on the Bupa site, and to share with the Bupa team our process for running inclusive usability testing.

We included Bupa’s user research team in the scripting and planning for the tests, and team members also sat in the sessions themselves. The usability testing identified some areas for improvement, including making navigation more user-friendly, text length and size, colour contrast, and some layout fixes.  It also equipped the Bupa team with the insights and experience to run their own usability testing on their services in future.  

Accessibility training through immersion labs

Recognising the importance of taking a comprehensive approach, we implemented a series of training sessions to embed accessibility capability and awareness across various teams. This program consisted of online and in-person sessions tailored to specific roles and responsibilities.

The initial session provided a broad foundation for a variety of teams, including building understanding through lived experience testimony, an exploration of accessibility standards, and practical demonstrations of assistive technologies. Subsequent sessions delved deeper into specific areas, with content designers receiving guidance on creating clear and diverse content, both on the site and for social media, designers and front-end teams exploring interaction design, mobile optimisation, and accessibility audits, and back-end developers and QA teams learning about development considerations, testing strategies, and agile approaches to collaboration for continuous improvement.


Our partnership with Bupa helped them to make a significant leap forward in accessibility across the organisation. Not only did it secure executive buy-in, with accessibility awareness reaching the top levels of Bupa, leading to sustained commitment and resources – increased funding to embed accessibility and increased funding for continued progress, it also equipped Bupa with the knowledge and tools needed to sustain its accessibility journey.

These tools include a toolkit for running inclusive usability testing and an increase in awareness across multi-disciplinary teams who are now equipped to navigate the complexities of accessibility and prioritise the needs of their users. By working with Bupa to foster a culture of inclusivity within the organisation, we’ve helped create a foundation to ensure a more accessible and inclusive experience for all its customers.

The biggest learning is that without advocacy and education there is little awareness across our teams of the problems that need to be solved… By working with Nexer we have now managed to give accessibility a seat at the Executive table

Head of Digital Propositions