Invisiblepeople is a project started by Mark Horvath after he found himself virtually homeless after the American economic collapse in the late 2000s. The project is dedicated to putting a face and story to the homeless through video interviews conducted by Horvath on the streets and in homeless shelters across Canada and the United States.
In short, Invisible People is a nonprofit organisation that uses its site to give homeless people a voice. They have the opportunity to tell their own stories via a range of individual video clips, each displaying their name.
In these fascinating and captivating videos, it's founder, Mark Horvath, asks the individuals questions about their lives on the street such as how long they have been there and how they feel about their past and their future. He finishes the conversations by asking them what they would be if they had three wishes.
Invisible People is an easy site to use making for a great user experience. It's invaluable inclusion of social media links including Twitter, Facebook , Youtube, Instagram and Flickr are much needed, mainly due to the fact that the existence of this site is all about spreading the word and bringing more attention to people who are homeless.
The most noteworthy section in the menu bar is the 'Donate' page. This allows users to donate money to Invisible people via a very simple form which only takes minutes to fill out. This important addition goes a long way in helping to keep the site going.
At the time of me writing this review, one of the big flaws regarding the sites functionality is rooted in what happens after the video had finished playing. So for example, if i click on 'Dawn' whilst at the homepage, a new page opens and her video starts playing. Alongside this are details about her, conversations from various users of the site and various social media links and stats. So far so good. However, when the video finishes playing, small thumbnails appear of other videos that can be linked to, which is obviously a great and useful idea. The problem is that once a new video has been clicked, it starts playing in the same window but with all Dawns details and information still showing. Hopefully this is just a bug and will get looked at and fixed very soon.
The design and layout here is generally very nice and well executed. If I'm honest, I think the logo could do with some work as it feels a bit clunky and passé. It has more of a feel of a ninnies metal band about it. However, thanks to the use of colours it manages to tie in with the rest of the site.
What I do love about the look and feel of the site is the muted colour palette used. It perfectly houses the black and white video stills of the 'invisible people', which conceptually is very tight. The individuals remain in this drab, unsaturated world practically devoid of colour. It's only when the user clicks on the video link and it starts playing, that the colour becomes apparent. A perfect metaphor for bringing to life these otherwise forgotten and invisible people.
In the 'About' section of the site, it opens with the following:
"I once heard a story about a homeless man on Hollywood Blvd who really thought he was invisible. But one day a kid handed the man a Christian pamphlet. The homeless guy was shocked and amazed, “What! You can see me? How can you see me? I’m invisible!”
This statement is testament to why this site is so important.
Horvaths plight to try and end homelessness via social media and youtube is to be admired. He states that forty thousand clips a month are being watched and on top of this he has links to organisations such as Street Soccer, who try to raise money for people on the street, offering them activities to get involved in.
I'm thankful that the site Invisible People exists and regardless of any nitpicking about functionality and design, it has massive sociological importance about a huge and serious global problem. Mark Horvath should be very proud of what he's achieved and if nothing else, go to this site and make a donation towards a very important cause.