INTR-180: Design and User Needs

Business, Entrepreneurship, and Professional Development
Building Sciences
Interior Design
Academic Level
Course Subject
Interior Design
Course Number
Course Title
Design and User Needs
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
47.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Catalog Course Description

Introduces human factors as they affect the design of interior environments including physiological, sociological, and psychological needs of users. Emphasizes the human factors of ergonomics, anthropometrics, universal design, and special populations as they relate to design standards, functionality, accessibility, and impact on the interior design practice.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

To introduce students to human factors, ADA and universal design, environmental psychology and consideration of user needs for special populations. Students will learn to consider user needs as a primary factor in the design of the built environment through hands-on experiences and design research methods.

Core Course Topics
  1. Foundational theories of Environmental Psychology: explore environmental and behavioral theories including the development of self-actualization pyramids using criteria established by Abraham Maslow.
  2. The psychology of behavior: territoriality, personal space, proxemics, crowding, and privacy.
  3. Wayfinding and cognitive mapping.
  4. Human dimensions and anthropometrics, and their impact on workplace function and productivity.
  5. Designing environments to meet the needs of persons with physical and cognitive disabilities.
  6. Human perception and environmental design with emphasis on how culture, education, economics, and ethnicity may impact interior environments.
  7. Conducting and presenting scholarly research findings on topics related to the design of various environments and population segments.
  8. Introduction to ADA and Universal Design and their impact on the built environment.
  9. Analysis of functionality in the design of residential and commercial settings and the psychological connection between users and their environments.
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)
  1. Define terminology related to environmental design, user needs, design theory and environmental psychology.
  2. Demonstrate, through hands-on activities and written documentation, the impact that proxemics, territoriality, privacy, and stress have on human behavior and the appropriate design response to these concerns.
  3. Exhibit, through hands-on activities and written documentation, the issues surrounding wayfinding.
  4. Apply the use of anthropometrics and ergonomics in the design of interior spaces and furnishings to improve function and productivity.
  5. Identify connections between human physiological and cognitive disabilities with their subsequent impact on the design of the built environment.
  6. Identify how sociological issues such as culture, education, economics, and ethnicity may create special needs for an interior environment.
  7. Demonstrate an ability to research psychological and physiological design needs for special populations such as people with disabilities, children, elders, and homeless or low income individuals and families.
  8. Identify the Americans with Disabilities Act, Accessible and Universal Design, and their impact on the built environment.
  9. Demonstrate, through hands-on activities, presentations and written documentation, an ability to critique interior environments for human factor issues.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement
  • Mid-Term and Final Exams
  • Hands-on Exercises and Assignments
  • Semester Project


General Education Categories
  • Humanities and Fine Arts
Institutional Outcomes
  • Humanities
MTA Categories
  • Category 5: Humanities and Fine Arts
Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

Determined by department

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Winter 2021
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date
Review Semester
Winter 2021