Module Catalogue 2020/21

MEC8028 : Human Centered Design and Engineering

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Javier Munguia Valenzuela
  • Lecturer: Dr Roberto Palacin
  • Owning School: Engineering
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



• To provide a comprehensive overview of human-factors considerations that are present when undertaking engineering design projects, such as: cognitive issues, physical and mental limits, human perception, human error, reliability and user preferences.
• To evaluate multiple design implications, considerations and methodologies that can be followed when designing for humans.
• To present and discuss different scenarios when human-factors considerations play a crucial role for the design of systems in fields such as transport, interfaces, assistive technologies and consumer products.
• To inform and provide a contemporary knowledge base on current trends and proven methods that support designing for humans in an engineering design context.

Outline Of Syllabus

* Human Factors: Cognitive and Physiological
- Environmental ergonomics: interaction with the environment, including temperature, pressure, noise, vibration, light, and tolerance limits.
- Cognitive ergonomics and human-equipment interaction

*Anthropometry for product design
- Obtaining, Capturing, measuring and use of anthropometric data to inform design

*Design for all, accessibility and design methodologies
- Usability testing and assurance
- Capturing users preferences to develop efficient Product Design & Performance Specifications: Quality Function Deployment (QFD), Kansei engineering.
- Capturing non-spoken subjective user preferences- Emotional engineering
- User Centred Design fundamentals for efficient interface design.
-Design for X methodologies and ‘Design for all’ (inclusive Design) taking into account human capabilities and limitations

*Applied Ergonomics
- Industrial and consumer ergonomics.
- Transport ergonomics and user-base design issues

*Data gathering and project management
- Measurements and experimental design for field investigation: analytical observation, questionnaire design, focus groups planning, usability tests

Case studies and practicals
- Designing and analysing interfaces: physical, digital/tactile
- Designing ranking scales and ‘House of Quality’ matrices
- Measuring human response to inform design
- Practical implications of reliability: structures, mechanisms and human reliability

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this Module students will be able to:
• Include the “user/operator/customer” as the fundamental start point for the design of devices and systems by coupling the product’s features to human capacities, be it mental, physical or behavioural.
• Critically identify and evaluate the main implications of cognitive, mental, physical and environmental factors and constraints when designing for humans.
• To identify and effectively deploy the most suitable techniques when designing for: reliability, usability, safety, user satisfaction to best meet the initial product/system specifications.

Intended Skill Outcomes

By the end of this Module students will be able to:
• Determine and demonstrate how physical, mental, cognitive and behavioural limits can be incorporated as design parameters for robust design solutions.
• Be able to capture human behavioural traits to translate them into quantitative design elements.
• To identify potential sources of risks and reliability issues and generate alternatives that mitigate these by applying relevant quantification strategies.
• To incorporate human-systems thinking into case study analysis and development projects.
• To be able to provide viable-technical courses of action to existing systems that need to incorporate human-design considerations

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00Daily Synchronous lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion73:0021:00Independent working time from topic briefing to practical submission
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:001hr Weekly PiP Labs:
Guided Independent StudySkills practice34:0012:00For weekly task submissions
Guided Independent StudyProject work124:0048:00Project consultation hours made available during self-study times.
Guided Independent StudyProject work416:0064:00Preparation for project work.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study341:0034:00Revision of Lecture material, practicals self-study and additional reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

• Lectures are intended to promote an appreciation of the various implications of ‘designing for humans’ and developing set of skills that can be applied to topical issues and case studies in design and ergonomics.
• Group-projects, where students identify the most critical knowledge and information relevant to a pre-assigned case and apply it to develop specific solutions within the engineering design and ergonomics space.
• Practicals, where students are given specific contents to review ‘online’ which are then solved and reinforced in a group-based session with a member of staff acting as facilitator.

Alternative will be offered to students who are unable to be present in person.

Students should consult their individual timetable for up-to-date delivery information.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination1202A50Exam covering all elements of the syllabus
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M50A portfolio of practicals submission
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

*The examination is used to assess knowledge, independent learning and understanding of material and the ability to integrate this material, to communicate it clearly, and to demonstrate critical thinking in relation to a short case example in engineering, design or operations.

*The Group-based practical Lab report allows for discussion of options and group justification of the selected case studies, methodologies and results. The assessment will involve producing one singe Team report following a template discussed in class.
The team will use a peer-evaluation system to distribute the final marks according to their performance.

For the purposes of professional body accreditation, in order to obtain a passing mark overall for this module (50%) at the first attempt the minimum acceptable mark for each of the assessment items specified below shall be 35%, with the maximum possible module overall mark where this is not the case being restricted to 40%: (1) 50% Exam (2) 50% Assignments (Combined)


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.