In Diablo II, some "random" dungeons could be rapidly navigated by simply following the right wall like the Forgotten Tower. Are there any rules that can be applied in Diablo III to breeze through dungeons with a minimum of dead-ends and loops?
Similar to D2, dungeons are generated randomly in D3. That being said, there are certain points of the map that always look the same and tend to be in the same place each time you play through. It's actually less random than in D2. You can know, for some quests, the direction that you need to go and ignore a large section of the map.
This is not true for most of the small dungeons, i think. It only applies to the larger areas.
Dungeons are randomly generated, so the fastest way through them is different every time. The only consistent guide I've had for finding the exit the fastest seems to be "always go away from the entrance"
There are typically more loops than dead ends in the dungeons, so going closer to the entrance increases the chance that you'll just loop back on yourself, while heading away from the entrance leads to new territory. So if you ever come to a cross road, pick the option that goes further away from the entrance.
The world map is not considered a dungeon, and is always the same layout, however the events, optional dungeons, mobs, and items within it are random. The waypoints are always static, and quest dungeons are either static, or random within a few possible locations