Digital assistants are becoming increasingly popular with many businesses incorporating them into their daily operations. These digital assistants make our lives easier and streamline many processes that are otherwise a real waste of time. Thing is, it seems that everyday a new digital assistant is developed; be it physical or online. The problem is that a lot of them seem to have some important things while completely forgetting others. If a digital assistant is not properly developed, and doesn’t include certain elements, it’s not so much an assistant as a hassle.

These digital friends have one goal and one goal only – to make our lives easier. If that is not achieved than both the developers of these assistants, and the businesses using them, are wasting precious time. But don’t fret! Below I’ve made a short list of the must-haves of a digital assistant. This should help you decide whether a digital assistant is right for you and whether it’s worth paying for it. Alright, let’s jump right to it.

1. The Digital Assistant should have a user-friendly interface

Okay, this one seems obvious at first, but trust me, it really isn’t. There are a ton of great digital assistants out there that help you achieve different tasks. Problem is, a lot of them just look pretty darn ugly. I know, they say that what matters is on the inside and not to judge a book by its cover. But an ugly digital assistant and clunky user interface will ultimately deem the assistant useless. A digital assistant is supposed to (surprise) assist. When users find themselves confused by the tool, they are ultimately angrier than when they started. Not good news. At every step of the way, the digital assistant should be simple, nicely designed, and fun to use. A good digital assistant is something you’ll be using on a daily basis. Thus, you want to make sure you enjoy it.

2. Should have compatibility with other Digital Assistants

This one is a bit tricky. The market of digital assistants is competitive, but not everyone is competing with the same people. One of the things that makes digital assistants stand out is whether they are compatible with anything else. This can means being compatible with calendars, music apps, scheduling apps, video conferencing tools, and any number of productivity services. You never want a digital assistant to be a ‘closed box’ that can never be accessed or changed.

Our digital world is insanely interconnected. Having a tool that is living in its own world isn’t a great idea. It’s also why one of the first thing you see when visiting a digital assistant’s site is “compatible with” or “can be used with”. It makes perfect sense, you want a digital assistant to seamlessly connect to what you’re already using and improve your process. What you don’t want is to start reshaping your working life around a new digital assistant – then it’s no longer an assistant but a hassle.

3. The Digital Assistant should – well – actually assist.

I can already hear you shouting, “this is obvious!”, but once again – it isn’t obvious enough apparently. In a world where everyone and his mother are developing new apps, tools, and services, much of them are just pretty darn useless. An assistant needs to, first and foremost, solve a problem. Moreover, it should definitely never create a new problem. A digital assistant should fill a gap in the way you manage your business – it should solve a small problem to make a big difference. That’s why a more complicated, heavy, and expensive digital assistant doesn’t necessarily mean a better one. Oftentimes, a simple, light, and easy-to-use tool (that can often be cheap), will be much more effective in solving your problems.

If you measure the time to learn how to use you digital assistant in weeks rather than hours – then it’s not an assistant. A CEO’s assistant is not another C-level executive that argues during meetings, it’s someone that complements the CEO and helps make life easier. This is exactly what a digital assistant should – nothing more and nothing less.