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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


•       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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture142:0028:00Lectures from weeks 1-3 and seminars for week 4
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion73:0021:00Independent working time from topic briefing to practical submission
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical62:0012:00Labs: 1)Cognitive ergonomics, 2)Displays design, 3)Anthropometry 1, 4) Anthropometry 2, 5)UCD, 6)QFD
Guided Independent StudySkills practice34:0012:00For weekly task submissions
Guided Independent StudyProject work416:0064:00Preparation for project work.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery101:0010:00Project consultation hours made available during self-study times.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study531:0053:00Revision 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.

Assessment Methods

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.

Reading Lists