Skip to main content

Unit information: Design Methods 2 in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Design Methods 2
Unit code CENG20016
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Morgan
Open unit status Not open

Design Project 1 (CENG10008)


Design Project 2 (CENG20015)

School/department Department of Civil Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit introduces students to:

  • The conceptual design process and design methods, tools and techniques
  • The nature of design and ‘design thinking’ in a socio-cultural and global context
  • Fixation in design
  • Design innovation and creativity using frame creation
  • Human-centred design, design for X, user research and empathic design tools
  • Rapid ideation, realisation and prototyping for creative products, process and services
  • Working as part of a creative design team and the nature of learning to design

Using human-centred design exercises and studies, the aims of the unit are to enable students to:

  • Understand and evaluate user needs through research, including considerations such as socio-cultural issues and aesthetics
  • Discover and define problems to develop a design brief and design specification
  • Manage the conceptual design process and evaluate outcomes
  • Communicate design work to a non-technical audience
  • Demonstrate good knowledge and understanding of design process, methods and tools with the ability to apply them in a range of situations
  • Demonstrate the ability to generate innovative conceptual designs for products, systems, services and processes
  • Engage with and reflect upon the open, complex, networked, and dynamic problems of modern society

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Manage the design process within the freedoms and constraints of a real-world problem
  2. Use a variety of design methods, tools, and frameworks to create an innovative design concept
  3. Use prototyping tools, user feedback and role play to evaluate design concepts
  4. Critically review and reflect upon the use of different design methods, tools, and frameworks
  5. Use visual and verbal literacy to communicate design information by written report and oral presentation

Appreciate and reflect upon the nature of design and the human-centred design process

Teaching details

Classes will involve a combination of lectures, group workshops, design reviews and presentations. Students will be expected to engage with research and readings in preparation for timetabled classes, participating on a weekly basis. Students will work in assigned groups of 4-5 throughout the unit

Assessment Details

Formative assessment:

TB1: Group design review and reflection on user research, problem definition, and requirements setting (ILO 1, 2, 4, 5)

TB2: Group design review and reflection on concept generation and down-selection, user feedback and prototyping (ILO 1 - 5)

Summative assessment:

TB1: Individual written literature review on conceptual design methods, tools and frameworks (40%)


  • Individual written reflection report (30%)
  • Group presentation critically reviewing and reflecting upon group use of design methods, tools and frameworks, using group design work completed throughout the unit as an illustrative case study (30%)

(ILO 1 -6)

Total: 100% coursework

Reading and References

  • K. Dorst, Frame Innovation, MIT Press, 2016 (TM has a reference copy)
  • N. Cross, Engineering Design Methods, Springer (various editions in library, TA174)
  • N. Cross, Design Thinking: Understanding How Designers Think and Work, Berg, 2011