Leichtfüßig Website

In this workshop, we are writing in a “lightweight” style —
Writing consists of words and code.


  1. Make your own prompt.
    The prompt should be simple and strong.
  2. Following your prompt,
    write a single-page, text-only website.*

    Good design naturally flows from strong content or ideas, so I recommend you write or compose something original for your site.

    You might be wondering — how do I write something original in a short three-day workshop!? It’s okay. At the least, you can present your name, or your favorite word. Writing is often about choosing something already existing, or combining words or ideas in new ways. Some style guides for writing, to get your wheels turning: 1) Choose an object and describe it as if you were a camera. 2) Write with no emotion. 3) Write words you would enjoy hearing aloud.

    * If you must add images, make sure they have alt-text. That way, they can be understood if someone is experiencing your website who can’t see.

  3. This is a website, so incorporate some interactivity with basic HTML, CSS, and maybe a little JS where it truly makes sense, and flows naturally from your concept.

    If you need any guidance on writing a webpage, here are some tutorials. You can also ask Chat GPT for coding help, but remember to not outsource your heart and soul ...

    Affordances like jump links, for example on this site or this other one, can be helpful in navigating a single page. What else can you do with some simple HTML and CSS?

  4. At the end of the workshop, we will have some sort of “release event” or “exhibition” of our websites that we will collaborate on together. We will also have a reading. Be ready to read aloud your website, or have someone else read it for you. The website should work well both as a reading and as a site.

    It's like how my project of fragrance reviews called “Perfume Area” started with a website and easily translated into many projects (including readings and a book). It's nice to consider projects that have this fluidity, starting from a strong concept.

  5. For bonus points, try to incorporate some aspect of 🍓 fruit. (It can be subtle.) Since it's winter now and quite chilly and dark, fruit is a nice reminder of warmth, color, and abundance.



leichtfüßig — light-footed · fleet-footed · nimble

If you search for “lightweight websites” on the web, you will come across very *utilitarian* definitions of what lightweight sites are — small or even smaller in file size. This is great — as I am all for a web that is quickly loading, good for the environment, and accessible — but this is a very literal definition.

For this workshop, I want to extend the definition of lightweightness to a more *literary or feeling-based* one. I think lightweightness is about seeing the world in a new way. Maybe Italo Calvino, in his book Six Memos for the Next Millennium, said it best —

“Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or into the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification. The images of lightness that I seek should not fade away like dreams dissolved by the realities of present and future...”

I put some first examples in an ✶✶ Are.na Channel called Ultralight Websites. Could you help me add some?

These are all websites I think are lightweight in the feeling-based way — they have a strong concept, are relatively simple, and help me see the world in a new way ... many of them also happen to be literally lightweight, which might flow naturally from their concepts.


monday, december 4
10:30 - 16:00

For the first day, bring at least three concepts for your leichtfüßig website. Visually sketch or code each, and share your strong and simple prompt for each. Also, bring a fruit to share with the group. And if you find any lightweight websites on the web you enjoy, could you share them too? If you feel compelled, you can give a reading of one.

tuesday, december 5
10:30 - 16:00 wednesday, december 6
10:30 - 13:30
strawberry sliced very thinly so light shines through “The finer I slice the strawberries, the more surfaces there are; the more surfaces there are, the more it tastes.”

— Christopher Alexander, A Timeless Way of Building (1979)
This website shares the prompt and some outcomes for a three day workshop at HFBK in Hamburg, Germany, from December 4-6, 2023.

Thanks to Christoph Knoth, Marlen Kaufmann, Morgan Mansour, Min Guhong, and Dan Brewster for helping it come to be.

And special thanks to all the participants: Kim Kleinert, Polina Lobanova, Stephan Thiel, Tigran Saakyan, Veronica Obenauer, Helen Ebert, Oliver Matzner, Akseli Manner, Karen Czock, Maja Redlin, Leoni Voltz, Liudmila Savelyeva, Sophia Krasomil, Fernanda Braun Santos, Simon Hundsbichler, Jisu Lee, and Morgan Mansour.