MEC8028 : Design for Human - Systems Integration

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


[a] 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.
[b] To provide a basis for the understanding of the multiple design implications, considerations and methodologies that can be followed when designing for humans.
[c] 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.
[d] 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

Ergonomics stream
Measurements and experimental design for field investigation: analytical observation, questionnaire design, focus groups planning, usability tests.
Task design: task analysis, productivity and work measurement, layout planning.
Obtaining, capturing and measuring and use of anthropometric data to inform design.
Systematic design approach to fit the user or operator: job and work design.
Industrial and consumer ergonomics.
Usability testing and assurance.
Environmental ergonomics: interaction with the environment, including temperature, pressure, noise, vibration, light, and tolerance limits.
Cognitive ergonomics and human-equipment interaction.
Transport ergonomics and user-base design issues.

Engineering design stream
Methods to evaluate and specify system's performance and reliability; qualitative and quantitative indicators.
Capturing users' preferences to develop efficient Product Design and 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.

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.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00End of Semester examination.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00Structured presentation of syllabus may include skills demonstration, formative feedback, etc
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion13:003:00Assessed seminar (group oral presentation)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion122:0022:00Recommended revision for exam, assuming prior regular independent study throughout teaching.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading122:0022:00Preparation for group seminar.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00Extended seminar, tutorial and group practical activity to apply taught material.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading160:0060:00Preparation for practical investigation/team report.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study160:0060:00Recommended regular personal study throughout teaching period to follow up taught classes
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The teaching is intended to promote an appreciation of the various implications of "designing for humans", and the development of a set of skills that can be applied to topical issues and case studies in design and ergonomics.
The process is intended to be interactive by including:
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.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A50Unseen. Requires a case analysis on human reliability/failure; product & interface design issues; ill-defined product design specs.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M35Team case study exercise.Topics to be assigned from a pool of: transport/industrial ergonomics/product design/assistive technologies
Essay1M15Individual Essay on human factors topic - to be assigned.
Zero Weighted Pass/Fail Assessments
Description When Set Comment
Practical/lab reportMZero rated activity that will give students access to the Individual Essay.
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 team practical investigation allows specific cases to be tackled, such that students can each take a role and these are then integrated in reporting. This allows for discussion of options and group justification of the selected alternatives, to assess the ability to apply material learned to real case issues. The team will use a peer-evaluation system to distribute the final marks according to their performance.

Individual Essay will be based on one specific area of human factors engineering not covered in the lectures to develop self-study, research and report writing skills.
NOTE: Students who successfully submit all practical assignments during the semester will be exempt from the individual report.

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)

Reading Lists