During the design process, designers must satisfy customer needs while adequately developing engineering objectives. Among these engineering objectives, human considerations such as user interactions, safety, and comfort are indispensable during the design process. Nevertheless, traditional design engineering methodologies have significant limitations incorporating and understanding physical user interactions during early design phases. For example, Human Factors methods use checklists and guidelines applied to virtual or physical prototypes at later design stages to evaluate the concept. As a result, designers struggle to identify design deficiencies and potential failure modes caused by user-system interactions without relying on the use of detailed and costly prototypes. The Function-Human Error Design Method (FHEDM) is a novel approach to assess physical interactions during the early design stage using a functional basis approach. By applying FHEDM, designers can identify user interactions required to complete the functions of the system and to distinguish failure modes associated with such interactions, by establishing user-system associations using the information of the functional model. In this paper, we explore the use of data mining techniques to develop relationships between component, functions, flows and user interactions. We extract design information about components, functions, flows, and user interactions from a set of distinct coffee makers found in the Design Repository to build associations rules. Later, using a functional model of an electric kettle, we compared the functions, flows, and user interactions associations generated from data mining against the associations created by the authors, using the FHEDM. The results show notable similarities between the associations built from data mining and the FHEDM. We are suggesting that design information from a rich dataset can be used to extract association rules between functions, flows, components, and user interactions. This work will contribute to the design community by automating the identification of user interactions from a functional model.

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