Undergraduate Degree



DR3000 Product Design III

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Independent Study: 13 hours; Pre-requisites: DR2004 Product Design II; Academic Unit: 4.0]

Academic Unit: 4 AU

Pre-requisite: DR2004 Product Design II

Course Description : 

Learning Objective

To develop in the students the practice-based skills and knowledge that was delivered in DR2004 Product Design II. To introduce to the students the notion of user-centric research and the application of emerging technologies.



This course encourages students to identify potential areas where new technologies can offer solutions to user needs. It seeks to develop in the student an understanding of how by identifying user needs and applying the principles of ergonomics, new products can be designed. In order to ascertain how people actually use products the students will do hands-on research by observing potential users, conducting user surveys and analyzing the results. From this data the students will develop and refine their product design ideas. The students are encouraged to look at emerging technologies that could be incorporated into their design solutions. The course culminates in a project where students learn to ideate, design, develop using 3D CAD techniques and create non-working prototypes (dummy models) that meets the needs and fit the ergonomic requirements of the user. In doing so the incorporation of emerging technologies in an appropriate and innovative manner is also addressed.


Course Outline



Studio Hours

Independent Study


• Intro to course



2 - 6

• Lecture 1. Principles of user centered design approach, exploration techniques of user experience

    - Project: Class Exercise

    - Project: Class Exercise

• Lecture 2. Research methods in product design, surveys, analysis and presentation of results

    - Project: Introduction to main project.

    - Project: main project ideation and Research

    - Project: main project user survey

• Lecture 3. The consideration and application of emerging technologies

    - Project: main project presentation of research




• Mid-Semester review of assignments



8 - 12

    - Project: main project concept generation

    - Project: main project tutorials

    - Project: Design refinement, mock-up model fabrication

    - Project: main project tutorials




• Final review of assignments








Learning Outcome

The students will be able to better place the needs of the user within the practice of product design. The student will be able to consider new and emerging technologies in the formulation of their design solutions. 


Student Assessment

Students will be assessed by 100% Continuous Assessment                                                

  • Studio-based exercises and projects; individual, group and team-based assignments 45%
  • Participation 15%
  • Final Project/Assignment: 40%


Students will be assessed by the following:

For the 45% studio-based exercises and projects, students will do one in-class exercise, and work on two design research assignments (individual/ group).

For 15% class participation, students are encouraged to read on fundamental works in the field, develop their design project, and engage in class discussion throughout the semester.

For the 40% final project/assignment, students are expected to present their design project from concept to final design along with a static (mock-up) model.




Recommended Reading:

  • Tom Kelly, The Art of Innovation, Doubleday, 2001

  • H Brezet, P Vergragt, T van der Horst (Eds), Vision on Sustainable Product Innovation, BIS Publishers, 2001

  • S Vihma, Products as Representations: A Semiotic and Aesthetic Study of Design Products , University of Art and Design Helsinki, 1995

  • B E Bürdek, Design: The History, Theory and Practice of Product Design, Birkhaüser, 2005

  • M S Sanders, E J McCormick, Human Factors in Engineering and Design, McGraw-Hill, 1993 (The latest 7th edition is published in 1993)

  • W Lidwell, K Holden, J Butler, Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach through Design, Rockport, 2010