just a SSF (or multiple SSFs) and make a tab (in raw converter UI) with controls allowing you to build a profile on the fly (and save as preset)... but again - that shall be hidden from a regular Joe in order not to cause the tears.
Yes, indeed. I think preset looks are good because regular Joe won't be able to design them even if they had the interest (which they 99% of the users won't have). I've worked with subjective profile design a little lately, and it's hard
. I think I can do better subjective profiles than both Phase One and Hasselblad which has been my "role models" when experimenting (mostly Hasselblad), but I've not settled yet and I'd say it takes weeks of field testing before one has a look settled. And while I don't think you need super-human color vision, one need to have healthy color vision and quite some training to be able to comfortably move in the space of subtle subjective color adjustments.
Hasseblad's Phocus actually has a design where the look is separate from the profile. Their profile is not colorimetric but I'd say it's "95% realistic", that is they don't try to make any particular strong look (like most others do), and I've heard that all their cameras look almost exactly the same despite different sensor hardware (like it should be), and then they have selectable looks on top like "nature", "portrait" etc which are simply presets of the raw converter adjustments tools. It's a bit too simplistic though, I think the subjective looks require different more subtle tools than the typical adjustment tools, so it would be better with a separate panel.
Lightroom is one of the more "consumer-oriented" softwares, where ease of use is the top priority, and I think that is the best commercial strategy. 99% of the users don't care that for example Capture One has better color adjustment tools (which indeed are much more difficult to use).
With proper design it would be possible to make a modern color rendering pipeline and still maintain the ease of use though. There's just this die-hard idea that digital cameras are just the same as analog cameras, just faster to get to the print.
As a profile designer it's much you can do to make a technical progress, with DCamProf I just have to live with the rendering pipelines that are out there, which means that I must provide features to build subjective look into the profile itself although I think that is not how camera color should work. Supporting Capture One has been the worst, as their pipeline is a real old-school mess. For example they split the curve between a user-selectable curve and a fixed curve in the ICC profile (to minimize color shifts the RGB curve causes), and there's a bunch of workarounds to get decent precision out of the integer-only v2 ICC profiles. With their hand-tuned profiles they get fantastic color though, and of course as long as you hand-tune the final result the underlying pipeline can be anything. The end user only sees the final result of course, and does not care how it's implemented.