I did a great course 'Design for Entrepreneurs and Hackers' at General Assembly when I first arrived in NYC. The course was run by Jack Cheng and David Cole from Disrupto and I have finally got around to doing a write up on it.
They have got a solid framework on what makes good design. The basis of their theory is that good design is making and breaking patterns to achieve desired outcomes. A large portion of the course was talking about patterns. Patterns are recurring solutions that solve common design problems. They are shortcuts that people understand, similar to schemas. They had a number of great resources on patterns for mobile and web;
Mobile UI Patterns
Welie (User need patterns)
Here is a great site on Dark Patterns, they are patterns that deceive the user, if you have ever had that feeling that a design is being tricky, then there is probably a case study on this site of where it has hurt a company online.
When designing anything for online they suggested there were three layers that designers needed to think about - Product Strategy, Product User Interface and Visual Design, within these you want one of these objects to be remarkable and then the others to be patterns that people are familiar with.
On a side not, on a scale of 1 to mind blowing how good is the K-Swiss/Kenny Powers entertainment????