Phoenix DryLINK Mobile App

The world’s first restoration app with Bluetooth connectivity to smart dehumidifiers and other enabled equipment.

UX & UI Design

Therma-Stor LLC was established in 1977 to apply advanced heat transfer technologies to residential and commercial markets. Phoenix Restoration Equipment is an extension of Therma-Stor dedicated to producing drying equipment for the commercial water damage restoration industry. 

They relied on i3 to design and implement the electronic components of the DryMAX XL LGR dehumidifier, building in Bluetooth communication to its hardware. i3’s digital design teams directed the user-interaction of the embedded system display. i3 conceptualized and designed the hybrid DryLINK mobile app from the very beginning and has continued to provide ongoing UX improvements in the years since its launch in 2018.


Therma-Stor LLC.

Project Type

Internet of Things

Design Challenge

An App For the ProFessional Restoration Technician That Makes Work Easier

Known for manufacturing high-performance drying equipment, Phoenix Restoration Equipment saw an opportunity to evolve the lowly workhorse dehumidifier to meet the demands of today’s contractors. To set themselves apart from the competition, they were going to be first to produce a dehumidifier that did more than any of its predecessors. In doing so, they would grab the market share in IoT equipment and use advanced sensors and communication protocols to provide meaningful advantages to restoration professionals.

As an expert in manufacturing and drying technology, Therma-Stor needed insight from a firm dedicated to delivering internet-enabled devices and experiences. They approached i3 with the challenge of understanding exactly what advantages an IoT dehumidifier could bring to their industry and to design a mobile app that leveraged them alongside the launch of their first-of-its kind smart dehumidifier, the DryMAX XL.


Framing Up the Task At Hand

A smart, Bluetooth-enabled dehumidifier promised a few key advantages. Time savings, improved accuracy, and simplified equipment tracking were some top-of-mind benefits that could transform the way restoration contractors did business. However, in order to develop a digital solution that was appealing enough to replace the pen and paper standard of the day, the i3 team first set out to understand how restoration companies conducted business when it came to inventory management and job tracking. The UX team began with the problem: 

“Restoration professionals need a way to quickly and easily document drying logs at a job site so that they can submit accurate reports to insurance adjusters. The tool uses a bluetooth dehumidifier which needs to be super simple because it is new.”

Contextual interviews with several restoration companies helped to reveal just what a day-in the-life looked like for these pros. It also helped spark some useful features/requirements that the mobile app could accommodate including:

  • Fast and easy company equipment association
  • Call out impacts to drying time
  • A familiar data collection workflow
  • Local weather data within the app
  • Ability to control a dehumidifier remotely
  • Capture historical activity of equipment on the job

The user research helped to reframe the actual problem to be: 

“Restoration pros have ways to quickly document logs at a job site. They need a connected tool that works with their existing equipment and allows communication in ways that make sense to them. Bluetooth technology is not a new concept but Dry Max XL should be as simple to use as other, non-connected, equipment."

This insight tailored i3’s focus for the app to be on the management of company equipment, supporting non-connected equipment readings, and surfacing the added benefits of the Bluetooth within the interface as the team moved into early design stages.  


Extracting Real User Insights

Following a Design Thinking approach, sketches and post-it note ideations turned into digital wireframes and prototypes that were brought before usability test participants within the restoration industry. The team engaged with contractors and educators to test the prototypes and workflows as an iterative stage to refine the solutions posed.

Usability testing helped to refine some early ideas for app features including:

  • Retooling the weather widget to focus on rain and humidity conditions for that day in a service 
  • Users need to be able to further define job parameters by adding rooms and chambers of affected wet areas.
  • Buttons and actions needed to be apparent and obvious. A minimalistic design pattern was not the right approach for this audience.
  • Users want to be able to edit data even if it was populated automatically by a connected dehumidifier. This sense of control would make them feel more comfortable trusting the technology.

Key Workflow Updates

The DryLINK app needed to accurately reflect the nature of how restoration jobs were conducted. During usability research, the team learned that a single job would span several days and the same equipment would be left on the job site for the duration. However, the individual that started the job on day 1 may not always be the one coming to check on the progress. 

To account for this, the model for assigning equipment was based around company ownership rather than individual users. Equipment would be initially discovered and “claimed” by company as part of its inventory and then assigned to jobs as needed. As long as the technician was part of the same company as the equipment, he could see and interact with the unit.


A Unified Design Solution within a Growing Ecosystem of Products

The final design of the DryLINK app included many of the initial ideas from the Therma-Stor project team. But, the value of real user feedback surfaced some features that now are cornerstones of the app’s success. The i3 UX design team designed the UI for the app, which was then developed internally by Therma-Stor using the hybrid Ionic framework. The dark theme aligned with a larger redesign of Phoenix Restoration Equipment brand and marketing collateral.

Since the launch of DryLINK in 2018, The platform has gained over 6,000 app users and has driven sales of 7,500 Bluetooth enabled devices for Therm-Stor.

Along the way, i3 has assisted in the design integration of additional smart products into the app including DryTAG to add tracking capabilities to non-smart equipment, and DrySENSE for moisture content sensing.  

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