Global UXR Interview series – Malte, Hamburg, Germany

Paul Blunden: hi and welcome to another. In our series of interviews where i’ll be speaking with one of our global research practitioners.

I’m: Paul, Blunden, founder of you UX24/7, and we help global brands reap the benefits of being more customer-centric. Anyway, let’s crack on and meet my guest.

Paul Blunden: Hello, and thank you for giving up your time to speak with me today. Can I start by asking you to introduce yourself. What’s your name? And where about you Based? Sure, i’m happy to be here. My name is Malte. I am based in Hamburg, Germany.

But I do lots of projects across the European continent.

Paul Blunden: That actually leads very neatly to my next question. Actually, because a lot of our research has been multiple languages. I guess you do the same. Please tell me a bit more about that.

Malte Tietjen: It is kind of so. I Well, of course, German is my my native language. But then I have a sort of proficiency in English.

So that’s not an issue for me, and then I try to keep up with other languages as well. So I stand, I understand, at least some Swedish, some diminish of each, and Dutch, French, Spanish, so at least, to get the sense of what someone else is writing about, so I can read some stuff, but hardly understand it.

Paul Blunden: Well, that’s quite a lot. Have you? Have you always lived in Germany? Or have you lived in some of those countries?

Malte Tietjen: No, I’ve always been here, Germany? Right? Okay? Well, I think you’re already winning the list of who speaks the most languages at least Understand

Paul Blunden: and how did you come about getting into research. What was it that sort of inspired you to get involved.

Malte Tietjen: Well, I I tried various things in my professional career, so i’m now in the digital, all creative space for more than a bit more than 10 years, and I experienced, or I I I tried a lot of lots of things. I did a classic account management. I did to digit a strategy. I did social media. I did classic Ux design, but all of that help me to understand the process of a product or whatever you’re facing that you’re working on from start to the end. And that helped me a lot to understand how people interact with these projects and digital products. And in general, and I think that it is one of my biggest advantages that I have to have this understanding and to. And also to to be able to get into the minds of someone using the product. and I’ve always been good with people.

So it just came in handy. When When I had my first research projects. I thought, okay, this is something where I’m: Good at.

Paul Blunden: Yeah. Sounds good. And then do you have a favorite methodology that you’ve sort of used over the years.

Malte Tietjen: I’d like to focus on qualitative methods. So interviews and focus groups just to really get into people talking, and then to to have these checks and conversations with them, and to really make them feel like they contributing to something bigger than that. Chats might be using the situation right. And if you use any other. so quantitative methods are not unknown to me.

and it’s not like I’d like to think myself of being a generalist, and that also helps with research. And just having this beating up a connection with someone else.

Paul Blunden: Yes, yeah, I agree. And what market sectors have you have you worked in or done research, and I should say

Malte Tietjen: It might be easier to exclude the ones that I haven’t done any research, or I Haven’t done projects in so really just as a very broad selection of of course, we being an automotive engineer, so he’s study automotive engineering back in the days everything that’s around an automotive or mobility topic is is a given, but apart from that, I did a lot of financial topics as well. I I did. Fmc: G: so really, Eddie Figos

Paul Blunden: right. Do you do any sectors you prefer particularly or other than automotive, perhaps, or maybe it is automotive.

Malte Tietjen: I mean in the end I like to identify myself with what I’m doing, and I like to really like to to work on something where I think okay, I could really use that myself, or I could at least basically also be the connection to that myself.

And so everything. Well, i’m interested in. Of course it makes it. It’s a lot easier. So automotive or mobility. Topics are a number one priority. But really I can adapt to almost anything.

Paul Blunden: Yeah. Okay? Well, the and I mean you’ve got really broad experience, and

I want to talk a bit about market maturity because it’s something I ask a lot of our researchers when I speak to them because it’s so different around the world, and we have a sense, I suppose, in the Uk that Germany is quite mature customer-centric. You think the Major brands are in in the German market.

Malte Tietjen: Well, what do you think of the stereotypical German? They are very hesitant when it comes to new things, and that might change over the generations. But still we have a majority of people who just like to stick to what they know, and to still like to stick to things that their parents or grandparents already used. And we, I stumble up on that several occasions when I did research.

So people just just talking to me, and and just being quite aware at risk, aware in in particular, when I came to new things. So it did. There is something, if you want to really know what people think of your product, or if you want to know what what challenges your product is facing, then talk to Germans.

Paul Blunden: So well thinking about that. I mean the in terms of brands working with the products in Germany. What do you think the greatest challenges are for them when undertaking a Ux research study.

Malte Tietjen: Well, years ago I stumbled upon that. That’s a term of German, and I think that sums it up pretty well. So do you have to be really aware of of people not jumping on the wagon because someone else told up to. But to you have to convince them of your product or your service, that it really gives them a benefit, and adds value to the life

Paul Blunden: who get them involved in the research, or as an outcome of the research you mean in terms of getting them to use it.

Malte Tietjen: It always helps to to include them very early on in the research process, so that you already know what’s gaps you have to fill and and how to really make them comfortable with what you’re doing. What’s your girlfriend?

Paul Blunden: Okay. that’s amazing. Thank you. And could you tell me a bit about maybe a flagship project that you’ve worked on that that you’ve delivered and really enjoyed?

Malte Tietjen: Yes, I had the opportunity to work with a digit agency based in Sweden last year, and we to developed a pan European payment solution, and we did several rounds of research in full markets, so that those were Sweden, Germany. the Netherlands, France, and Spain. How about that? 5 markets?

And that was very fun, because my role was there to coordinate the other researches and to help them do the best I can to help us during the design process of that payment solution. And so I worked together with a colleagues in those local markets, and had translating all the interviews back to English and guiding them through the research process, and also including them in the process itself. So for me it’s a very high priority. So everyone that I work with in such a project to really make them part of the project, and not just having them as like a or you do your work, and then give it to me, and then goodbye, you. But you need to to include them and make them feel included in the project as well.

Paul Blunden: And how did the research change the product? Was it a new product? Or was it something being evolved through the research?

Malte Tietjen: It was a new product, but the the most interesting stuff was what we already talked about earlier was the differences in the European markets, so like French and Spanish, behave differently to to the Dutch and and the the Germans to so to have a project that covers all. And it might be just simple thing as selection of colors just that they are perceived differently across the European continent. It was very interesting.

Paul Blunden: Yeah, that that kind of outcome of research across different markets, I think, is really interesting. What affects different cultures and how do you sort of deliver a global product in that context. A few few brands get it right?

Paul Blunden: So it sounds like a really interesting project. I want to. That did dive into any more more in case you go into realms that you can’t talk about. But there is such things as nda’s. Yeah, I know they’re always out there it was I I don’t ask any more, but I I am interested. You talked a bit about behaviors there, and i’m really interested in the behaviors in Germany that perhaps other global brands need to pay pay attention to You’ve You’ve already alluded to a few as we’ve spoken. But perhaps you could speak a bit more about those.

Malte Tietjen: Hmm. Germans are very hard to excite. It is very, very troublesome to get some emotions out of them that are overly positive it’s like something. If you don’t get any negative feedback at all, that’s positive.

So you have to be quite aware of that? You have to learn that what what that means. So feedback culture is something that is. you have to be very proactive to get feedback on on something.

Paul Blunden: so that would suggest something we believe in passionately that to send is then you’ve got to use German researchers in Germany. If you really want to understand the local market, I guess. Exactly.

And then on a couple of questions, one and i’d like to know, even though you’re German and perhaps don’t get very excited about things. What’s inspiring you at the moment.

Malte Tietjen: I think I mean we we start again. I mean, the word is changing at the moment, and with topics like the climate crisis and everything else. It is very important for for any company or any product to also include topics like sustainability into the process, and to see how can we make it? The most accessible and most is sustainable a solution that there is for the to to challenge that we’re facing.

Paul Blunden: Yes, I think that’s on a lot of people’s minds at the moment you read about it a lot in the industry in particular. I’ve just been reading about it today. Actually with the Newsletter, I put together so much about inclusivity, sustainability, democratization. It’s a big subject.

And finally, then, Malte, what’s your biggest learning since you’ve been a researcher.

Malte Tietjen: It’s not that I have to. That’s biggest learning that that again, but it’s it’s the small ones, and it’s always to to be surprised about what people tell you. It’s always these that there is something what you think. Okay, I My! Why, this imagination I would have never thought of this, and that’s really something that is so valuable to all the product development that there is

Paul Blunden: fantastic. Thank you very much. Well, thank you so much for sparing your time to speak with me today. It’s been really interesting.

Malte Tietjen: you’re welcome.

Paul Blunden: Well, I hope you enjoyed finding out about Malta and the German market, and, in fact, even beyond that, with the different work he’s done. I’m. Paul, London, I’m. Founder of you X, 24 7, and if you’d like to know more about what we do. Please visit our website ux 24 or you can find me and message me on Linkedin. and, better still, subscribe to this channel. And you can see the next interview in the series. When when I talk t0 0ne of our other global researchers from around the world.

Thanks for listening.