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By bad I mean up to the point of not wanting to continue with the app and uninstalling it.

I'm developing an app which needs, well it could be better said that is essential for the app, the user to input its phone number correctly.

Applications that need that usually work with an SMS system that helps to confirm the phone number, but in my case I've checked some services that offer this service and their prices are way bigger than the money I expect to win with the app, making and maintaining my own service for this would also very likely prove way more expensive than the money I would win. And I'm not into that.

So, I'd like to have some opinions about how bad of a user experience this is. If I get that this is bad user experience I'll get to check more of those services, perhaps one of them offers free verification if there are not too many SMS per month. If I get the opinion that it's not that bad or if I don't find those services, I'd just release the app this way, as it cannot be helped.

Thanks for your attention.

3

If your app's behavior requires a valid phone number, it's not a bad user experience. As a matter of fact, not requiring it would be a horrible user experience since they won't be able to use the app!

As for validation of those numbers, if users want to use the app, they will provide a valid number. Otherwise, they'll input a fake number. And the app will render useless. Either way, you won't care.

However, there could be errors and mistakes, so you need to make sure they input their numbers correctly, including how do you want to format the numbers, including country codes, area code, cell number prefixes and so on. Be aware that different countries have different systems, so if you want to target all countries, you'll be up for some research.

Now, assuming they input numbers in an incorrect way, you should let users correct it. For example, if a correct number is needed in order to make the app work as expected, an incorrect number won't work, right? Then, you can do a simple check: just identify the user. If user requests whatever, send [whatever]. If after sending, whatever] hits user's phone, then phone # is valid. Else, phone # is wrong and you can display an error message in your app letting user know how to correct the error

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    Also in addition to this, try and make adding a phone number less 'scary' for users by being very clear in why you need the phone number before you ask for it. – Nick Groeneveld Jul 31 '17 at 13:06
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The only reason asking for a user's phone number is a bad user experience is if the user believes that the phone number will be used for marketing purposes/sold to other companies.

So if you specifically explain why you need the phone number, then the user will more likely trust your app.

Applications that need that usually work with an SMS system that helps to confirm the phone number, but in my case I've checked some services that offer this service and their prices are way bigger than the money I expect to win with the app, making and maintaining my own service for this would also very likely prove way more expensive than the money I would win.

If you would like to implement an SMS authentication system, i would recommend the one included with Firebase. With the free pricing plan you can use up to 10,000 SMS verifications per month, which is more than enough for most.

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Here are two reasons why I think you should ask for the user's phone number:

  1. Because you said you believe it is essential (this alone is reason enough to include it).

  2. It will increase your percentage of 'serious' users. They must really want the app if they decided to go along with all of the requirements.

EDIT: Let me edit my response in hope to provide you with more value.

To give you my personal opinion, I don't believe asking for a phone number is a bad experience, as long as you reassure the user that you won't spam them, sell their information, and that it is totally safe, etc. People generally clam up when asked for personal information, but if you reassure them and deliver a way out, or present it as an option in order to optimize their experience, it gains trust points. You need to present it as value for them, not for yourself. No one wants to give their information unless its best for them to do so.

Hope this helps out more than my previous answer!

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