“I would then look to reduce the surface area of its appearance and gradually work it out.”
Is this because it’s easier to keep stakeholders on board with your plan if you retain the feature? Or because you genuinely aren’t sure if a sizeable portion of customers will react negatively? I can understand why you’d do this and I do it too. I feel like it’s a bit of a cop-out sometimes though.
Sometimes I get to a point with major stakeholders where I can’t understand the value that something has, they can’t explain it to me and yet they insist that it must remain. Over time, I’ve parked the conversation and do what you suggest above of slowly reducing its appearance until ultimately we strip it out altogether. It’s funny how often nobody realises it’s gone. Makes you realise that you should have removed it altogether in the first place.