Cathy Chlevner wrote:Is any special knowledge in design/drawing required to be able to create good looking Android apps?
Knowing something about good user-interface design does go a long way to keeping your users happy. In much the same vein: knowing how to use a graphics package (Photoshop or Gimp) allows you to make better use of the default Android user-interface widgets by creating custom styles. There are many design mistakes that are made by many (though definitely not all) Android developers. I've seen far to many Android applications that are great ideas, with absolutely terrible user-interfaces.
The approach taken in the book is to introduce the Android stack to someone who is unfamiliar (or somewhat unfamiliar) with it, and emphasize the best way to use each part of the API to make your application more natural for your users.
Cathy Chlevner wrote:Does the book teach usability GUI design techniques?
Although the book is a beginners guide, it has a strong emphasis on good UI design. Not just in terms of screen-layout, but also how users expect an application to work. I've related good application, and screen design directly to the features of the Android platform, which keeps the book practical rather than just being filled with long-winded theory.