I am designing the onboarding experience for a job-posting app. We have two options of verification methods, email verification and mobile verification. We already plan to use email verification on the web version, but will using this method on the app affect the user experience? Will the user find it difficult to switch apps and verify the email? Is adding a phone number verification a good alternative?
If you can accommodate both, you should allow the user to choose. Users can only access SMS on the single device that the number is associated with, but email can be accessed from anywhere and potentially allows the user to consolidate messages from multiple sources on the same topic in one place. On the other hand, a user might want SMS because they get notified instantly and can check the message wherever they are; email can be delayed in transit. The more flexibility you can offer the user, the better the user will like it; trying to lock the user into a ‘do it my way’ mode tends to be counterproductive, and drives them away.
I think account verification is ALWAYS a pain for the end user. So the real question is how to make it as seamless as possible.
I appreciate when apps that require verification are embedded in the device far enough to manage most of the process. I seem to remember Uber being able to read the SMS they sent and do everything for me (switching apps, getting the code, etc). The same thing can be accomplished by deep linking from an email I believe.
As for which method to use, here are my criteria:
How often and what type of communication would you like to have with the user down the road? You should use the initial verification format that caters to those answers.
Users tend not to like lots of interaction from a SMS so if you're communication will be short, time-sensitive alerts go that route. If on the other hand, there might be listing rollups or more in-depth status provided, that's better via email so I'd make sure to validate users with an email address (so you have it for your profile).