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Decipher is an online survey for market research. It is a fully scalable end to end solution with an in house team that is dedicated to optimising and testing survey layouts for web and mobile devices, as well as logical progression of questions for best respondent experience. This level of granularity has resulted in a 69.15% completion rate which is 2.45 times higher than its competitors.

Device Detection is Key to Survey Completion

Decipher surveys do not involve a moderator asking questions so they need to be engaging, legible and clear on every device to reduce survey abandonment rates and maximise return on investment for customers.

The Challenge

The increasing use of mobile devices to access the web has become a challenge for the market research industry. Researchers are familiar with designing online surveys to display on PC devices. But now they must accommodate smaller screens and touch devices such as tablets and smartphones to deliver the same, or better, rate of completion as desktop.

Current figures show that survey completion rates on mobile are much lower than on desktop and tablet. “Mobile first” responsive interfaces reduce performance on desktop due to differences in the granularity offered by mouse or touch screen interfaces and the number of questions that can be displayed comfortably. Without altering the layout and user interface for mobile phone devices the risk a significant number of questions may not be answered or the survey may be abandoned altogether increases.

"More people complete an engaging survey tailored to the specific device type" - Erwin Andreasen | CTO, FocusVision

FocusVision recognised the criticality of ensuring the correct user experience is delivered by quickly and accurately evaluating the requesting device’s screen size and supported input methods. As a market leading research company, FocusVision had been working on this problem for a number of years using a competing device detection service designed in the last decade. Concerns over the incumbent solutions performance, accuracy and commercial model materialised in mid-2014 resulting in a review of alternative professionally maintained solutions.


Example Touch Screen Question

51Degrees detects more than 290,000 unique combinations of browser, operating system and hardware across a database of more than 26,000 devices which is growing by 200 new devices every week. Whatever type of device is being used to participate in a survey, 51Degrees can accurately identify it.

Simple integration with Python made running 51Degrees in parallel an easy way to assess improvements. FocusVision found the optimised data structure used by 51Degrees to be faster and more resource efficient than the JSON format used by the previous solution provider. Other services were unable to provide a comparable library but forced usage of their own long-running services or even dedicated virtual machines running a full Java or Microsoft stack. 51Degrees used a universally portable and efficient C-based implementation.

An internal 51Degrees micro service manages 100,000 calls per day with an average processing time below 500 microseconds. Standardised property names and values are used internally with simple mappings to 51Degrees metadata. Due to the high number of client-specific servers, device data updates are managed centrally by FocusVision across multiple data centres.

Quality and Competetive Edge

"You can’t always go mobile first when a worse experience is generated on desktop" - Erwin Andreasen | CTO, FocusVision

Delivering surveys that load without delay, with legible content that is optimised dependent on the user’s device, provides a competitive edge. FocusVision can build surveys for its clients tailored to any sophisticated smartphone or lower specification phone safe in the knowledge that accurate and up to date device information has been provided by 51Degrees.


The implementation of 51Degrees has provided FocusVisions’s customers with a significant level of flexibility enabling clients to maximise their return on investment.

Share of on-line survey starts by country

Improved Completion Rates Continue

Over the last 4 years, FocusVision has seen completion rates on mobile devices increase and device detection from 51Degrees continues to play its part in supporting these improved results. Decipher can now deliver the very best completion rate on all devices whether it is a desktop, tablet, feature phone or smartphone.

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About 51Degrees

51Degrees was founded in 2009 by James Rosewell and is the home of THE fastest and most accurate Device Detection software commercially available. Originating from the 51Degrees Open Source Foundation project, over 1,500,000 websites now use 51Degrees to detect mobile devices and redirect initial requests to a mobile friendly home page optimized for the user.

The company serves many of the world’s leading brands including Unilever, EBay, Microsoft, IBM, Hyundai and T-Mobile, and as well as its flagship device detection software, the product portfolio spans responsive web design tools, image optimization and enhanced analytics.

Based in Reading, UK, the company name originated from its geographical latitude at 51 Degrees. Since launching the company in 2009 51Degrees has expanded rapidly and its software is deployed in over 200 countries across every continent around the world.