Christian Robertson, who leads the Android Visual Design group wrote on the Android Developers Blog:
Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is our biggest redesign yet — both for users and developers. We’ve enhanced the UI framework with new interactions and styles that will let you create Android apps that are simpler and more beautiful than ever before.
To help you in that mission, we’re introducing Android Design: the place to learn about principles, building blocks, and patterns for creating world-class Android user interfaces. Whether you’re a UI professional or a developer playing that role, these docs show you how to make good design decisions, big and small.
The site outlines Android’s “creative vision,” design principles, and UI overview, and has sections on style, patterns and building blocks.
Google asks designers to consider three main goals:
Beauty is more than skin deep. Android apps are sleek and aesthetically pleasing on multiple levels. Transitions are fast and clear; layout and typography are crisp and meaningful. App icons are works of art in their own right. Just like a well-made tool, your app should strive to combine beauty, simplicity and purpose to create a magical experience that is effortless and powerful.
Simplify my life
Android apps make life easier and are easy to understand. When people use your app for the first time, they should intuitively grasp the most important features. The design work doesn't stop at the first use, though. Android apps remove ongoing chores like file management and syncing. Simple tasks never require complex procedures, and complex tasks are tailored to the human hand and mind. People of all ages and cultures feel firmly in control, and are never overwhelmed by too many choices or irrelevant flash.
Make me amazing
It's not enough to make an app that is easy to use. Android apps empower people to try new things and to use apps in inventive new ways. Android lets people combine applications into new workflows through multitasking, notifications, and sharing across apps. At the same time, your app should feel personal, giving people access to superb technology with clarity and grace.
How do the apps you use stack up in these three categories?