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I'm designing a strong authentication (two factor) solution for a website. Users will be forced to use two factor (legal requirement).

We have two supported methods an SMS verification code texted to your phone and a TOTP mobile app token generation algorithm (like Google Authenticator or Authy)

Preliminary feedback is that users like and are comfortable with SMS verification. However, the business would like to "encourage" download and use of the mobile app.

  1. Its going to be faster and easier in the long run since it works when you don't have a data connection, and its faster than waiting for a text

  2. Its cheaper - don't have to pay to send that text

So the design question is, how can I encourage users to set up this form of strong auth that they may not be as familiar or comfortable with?

  • What are your users relationship to the organization requiring authentication? Are they employees or service subscribers (paying or not)? – Evil Closet Monkey Feb 5 '15 at 23:23
  • Yes - the users are employees of the organization which requires authentication. They will need to login and authorize in order to complete their jobs - but we want to make sure that these organizations will want to use our application. – Lisa Feb 9 '15 at 16:26
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its faster than waiting for a text

Advertise that while the user is waiting for the SMS.

'While you wait, consider downloading 'that app' to log in faster'

Particularly effective if the second factor is provided in a separate page having just that and the code input box. If you're evil, you can artificially increase the wait time for a SMS.

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    Aside, the arbitrary wait for SMS seems like a good place to do an A/B test (% of people who download app when given long SMS delay vs no or short delay). – gregmac Feb 18 '15 at 6:23
  • @gregmac This is getting dangerously close to user abuse. But, oh - so many evil options! "While you're waiting, feel free to view that ad". "AT&T has faster SMS than the competitors - upgrade now!". "We're experiencing heavy traffic - while you wait, would you like to take that survey asking your opinion about increasing IT budget?". – ptyx Feb 18 '15 at 16:53
  • Wow! I think you have a brilliant future in marketing :) – gregmac Feb 18 '15 at 19:26

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