The Vital Role of Compliance Testing in Software Development


This one’s for all the compliance geeks out there!! Here, you will get to know a lot about compliance testing and I promise that although it might seem like a daunting task, I will try my best to make it as much fun as possible.

To begin with, let’s imagine that you were a software tester and that you were responsible for making sure that your company’s latest software was complying with all the standards and necessary regulations.

Again, you might find it intimidating at first, but worry not, for I’ve got you covered. In this blog, you will get to know all the important aspects of compliance testing, starting from what it is, why it is important in software development to how to carry them out effectively and efficiently.

So, all I want you to do is sit back with your favorite cuppa and join me in this adventure!!

Let’s Start with What is Compliance Testing

Compliance testing is like a referee in a football match. Like the one responsible for making sure that everyone is playing by the rules. The main difference is that in compliance testing there are no playground shenanigans, and its objective is to ensure that software plays and operates by the industry norms.

Compliance testing or conformance testing is a software testing method. It is used to validate product’s or process’s compliance with the company’s standards, policies, and philosophy. This non-functional test is performed among the first to evaluate the control environment. A product passes the test only if it is fully developed, backed up with proper documentation, online support, the newest licenses, and with all the functions flagged as satisfactory.

Thus, in its absolute basic form, compliance testing is nothing but making sure that software meets every regulatory and industry requirement.

Now, you may ask – what do these regulations address?

Well, it addresses various topics ranging from security to accessibility, and data privacy.

One can also say that compliance testing acts as a checklist, making sure that all the standards are met and that software can easily co-exist with others in the ever-expanding world of technology.

That being clear, let’s quickly move on to the next topic….

What Are The Different Types Of Compliance Testing?

When it comes to compliance testing, there are a few different types and it’s only best if you make the effort of knowing every one of them.

Here they are:

Accessibility testing:

This is done to ensure that software is easily usable by a person with any type of impairment, such as a blind person or someone with restricted mobility.

Security testing:

I am sure you have seen superheroes using shields of different sizes and shapes to protect them from damage. Well, security testing is just that. It guarantees that software is safe and that no one can simply exploit it.

Data privacy testing:

As the name itself suggests, data privacy testing is mainly carried out to make sure that software follows every data protection rule out there and that user data is fully safe.

Performance testing:

This form of testing is done to ensure that software is performing at its fullest in any given circumstance which might include excessive traffic or usage. You can compare it with the lightning-quick actions of Flash the superhero.

Regulatory compliance testing:

This testing is done to guarantee the fact that software complies with every international legal standard as established by various regulatory organisations around the globe.

A software tester can combine any testing method to make sure that software is functioning accordingly and that it complies with every applicable legislation.

Now, let’s take a quick look at how the standards are determined….

How Standards are Determined in Compliance Testing?

More often than not compliance testing depends on standards that are established by government agencies or other professional bodies and they in turn serve as reference points for other organisations.

You should keep in mind that companies also have the flexibility to come up with their standards so as to define the expected performance of their products.

Regulatory agencies are always critical in coming up with standards in order to make sure compliance is followed in every industry. Here are some noteworthy examples:

  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C): This agency is responsible for establishing standards for the development of CSS code and HTML.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation: This is the body that implements regulations to protect data from any sort of misuse.
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): It is a well-known and highly respected organisation and is responsible for establishing standards in the fields of technology and as the name suggests engineering.
  • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): This legislation sets forth standards whose main purpose is to safeguard sensitive information of patients in the healthcare industry.
  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): It is responsible for regulating fair pricing from banks and other financial institutions.

Importance Of Compliance Testing and Why Do We Need It

Although not one of the most glamorous aspects of software testing, compliance testing is very critical, to say the least. Below I have mentioned some of the reasons as to why compliance testing is needed:

Legal compliance:

Compliance testing guarantees that software abides by certain rules and regulations, for example, data protection legislation and accessibility standards.

Protecting user data:

Other than ensuring legal compliance, compliance testing also helps protect user data so that it is not stolen or exploited by someone with malicious intentions.

Avoiding penalties:

As one can easily understand, compliance testing helps businesses avoid penalties and legal actions due to non-compliance.

Building trust:

It becomes easier for users to trust a company that carries out compliance testing as it ensures 100% data privacy and security.

Improving software quality:

It goes without saying that thorough compliance testing not only guarantees compliance with industry standards but it also enhances the quality of the software.

For reasons more than one, compliance testing is an essential part of software testing and helps the software to stand out and perform at its peak potential.

What Is Actually Tested?

Compliance testing is done to test certain aspects of the software to be absolutely sure of the fact that every regulatory standard is met and also that every industry best practice is followed.

Having said that, let’s dive into what is tested:


This aspect is mainly tested to guarantee that software is functioning in the way that it is supposed to and that it has no bugs or glitches that might be of concern.


Usability is tested to make sure that software is comparatively easy to use by people with various needs and abilities.


This testing protects software from illegal hacking and that it is secure from bad actors.


Testing performance allows one to be sure that the software will perform smoothly under different conditions.


This is done to make sure that software will work seamlessly across different operating systems, devices, and browsers.

Data privacy:

This testing takes care of the fact that user data is safe and secure and complies with ever data protection regulations.


Accessibility testing guarantees that software is perfectly and easily accessible to people with disabilities.

Thus we can see that each area is extremely important and needs to be tested to make sure that software is not only compliant but that it also meets industry standards.

When And How to Conduct Compliance Testing?

Firstly, in order to begin compliance testing, you must be accustomed to all the international standards your software needs to follow. For example, for the EU, you need to follow standards of privacy and accessibility. Once you get to know the scope, here are some tips you can follow:

Start early:

You must always make the effort of trying to begin compliance testing as early as possible so that you can weed out any issues and thus prevent any bigger problems.

Create test cases:

You can also create test scenarios for the various standards your software needs to follow. For example, compliance criteria include keyboard navigation, colour contrast adherence, and data privacy to name a few.

Execute tests:

Once you have created test cases, you can then move ahead with executing the tests following these test cases.

Analyse results:

Here you must ensure to test the results accurately so that you are able to detect any breaches with compliance.

Report issues:

This step is very important as it allows you to document any compliance-related concerns during testing.

Verify fixes:

You should also verify the viability of the fixes and you can do this by retesting the impacted regions.

Automate recurring issues:

By automating the compliance testing process you can become more efficient and can handle recurrent issues more effectively.

Perform regular audits:

Performing audits regularly can ensure that your compliance testing is up to date and also that your software is complying with all the latest standards.

If you are able to follow the above-mentioned tips, you can be rest assured of the fact that your compliance testing process will go seamlessly thus making sure that your software is compliant with all the international standards.

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