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The University of Southampton

OCCT1032 Design for Occupation 1

Module Overview

Design is an art, a skill and a science which is central to the practice of occupational therapy; whether it be the re-design of an environment to suit a particular need, an aesthetic which supports a therapeutic approach or the (re)design of a system or artefact to enable re-engagement with home life, work or leisure. An occupational therapist’s ability to design is critical to the outcome for the person or population with whom s/he is working. In this introductory module, you will discover how to investigate design features that impact upon occupation, health and well being. You will be given the opportunity to develop existing skills and utilise acquired knowledge of other appropriate disciplines to understand their contribution to design and their subsequent impact on occupational engagement and performance for individuals and groups You will use a variety of tools to analyse design and to enable you to make recommendations for change to increase potential for occupational engagement and performance.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

You will develop your occupational analysis skills learnt in other modules and begin to add ergonomic/human factors approaches to the analysis of environments/systems/artefacts and their effects on human performance and occupational engagement You will work in teams, with outside agencies to design an artefact, system or environment to enable/improve occupational engagement for a given group of service users. You will use evaluation and reflection tools to review the design process, your role within the team and the outcomes for the designated user group

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Recognise and describe the impact of design on occupational performance through reflection on personal experience and use of basic analysis tools
  • Understand and use language from different disciplines in order to describe design features and their impact on occupational engagement for individuals and populations
  • Work constructively with colleagues, providing non-judgemental feedback and peer review to support each other's development of analysis skills
  • Engage with outside statutory and voluntary agencies in order to understand a variety of perceptions of design enablers and barriers for different user groups
  • Identify the importance of design to support occupational performance within professional practice
  • Complete a summative analysis to demonstrate how a chosen piece of design affects and influences your own personal meaning and occupational performance


Development of ergonomic and design principles used in Design 1, to illustrate why this is important in Occupational Therapy practice Practice in searching, selecting and applying evidence linked to specific design principles, with opportunities to access resources such as library services, interfaculty and external organisations which may be local, national or international international contacts Opportunities to explore/use/develop a range of assessment approaches to identify the ways in which design enables or inhibits occupational participation Completion of specific tasks/activities in groups in order to develop collaborative team working skills, apply design principles to systems/environments/artefacts and to enhance occupational performance and well being Group presentation of design project within a showcase event, prior to the assessment period

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module will encompass a range of teaching and learning methods, including classroom based lectures, workshops directed independent learning and group work

Independent Study154.5
Total study time187.5

Resources & Reading list

Principles of Inclusive Design.

K Jacobs (2008). Ergonomics for Therapists. 

The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design: Royal College of Art.

G Salvendy (Ed) (2012). Handbook of human factors and ergonomics. 

Journals available in library and on line. The Journal of Occupational Therapy Ergonomics Applied Ergonomics

S Pheasant (2006). Bodyspace: anthropometry, ergonomics and the design of work. 

Design Council Inclusive Design.

W Karwowski, MM Soares, NA Stanton (Eds) (2011). Human Factors and Ergonomics in Consumer Product Design. 

F Stein (2006). Occupational Therapy and Ergonomics: applying ergonomic principles to everyday occupation in the home and at work. 

Design Council Inclusive Design.

T Sumsion (2006). Client Centred Practice in Occupational Therapy: a guide to implementation. 

KHE Kromer (2008). Fitting the Task to the Human. 



Business case or Essay plan


MethodPercentage contribution
Assignment  (1500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Field Trips

There will be some minimal travel costs attributed to arranged visits. You will be encouraged to car share or use public transport in this case.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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